On Saturday, May 19, excitement and celebration filled the room as six participants between the ages of 12 and 18 completed our Spring KHAIR Program, marking a huge step forward on each of their individual journeys to success and self-growth.
The program lasted six weeks, and consisted of multiple workshops, which were held on a college campus thanks to our partnership with Southern CT State Univ. Dept. of Public Health. These workshops helped train the participants’ crucial life skills in the areas of financial literacy, dress for success, nutrition, self-awareness, social etiquette, and team building. Thanks also go to the Gap clothing store in Hamden for hosting our Dress for Success day.
At graduation, students presented their team building projects in groups of two where they came up with an idea of a business and discussed how it would be built, who it would serve, as well as the problem it would solve. Students then presented short and powerful talks that answered the question, “If you could share a message with your generation, what would it be?” There were more than 40 supporters in attendance made up of facilitators, parents, and friends, who were gathered to celebrate the great accomplishments of the graduates and watch their unique presentations.
The topics chosen for their speeches, consisted of the importance of respect, the effect of judgement, limiting phone usage to better increase social skills, and giving all of yourself to find yourself.
The students presented with poise and creativity. Sierra Wilson used acting during parts of her speech, while other students had extremely insightful and thought-provoking statements in their speeches. During her speech on judgment, Yanalex Thompson stated, “As we focus on judging others, we are really limiting ourselves.”
Volunteers Aaron Aikins, Tony Nelson, and Cheryl A. Palmer gave motivational words about believing in yourself, choosing your relationship circles wisely, and self-development. Aaron Aikins encouraged the students to reflect back on the event as, “an accomplishment that will act as a stepping stone of opportunity for what’s next.” This encouraged the students to reflect on their KHAIR experience and understand the knowledge they received is indispensable and will act as a building block towards their future success.
Marian Evans, MD, MPH (Vice Chair of CHNCT Foundation Board) and Patti Scussel (Executive Director) presented the students with their certificates.
Dr. Evans saluted all of the parents and clinicians for assisting the participants on this journey and spoke of how one of the key pillars of the KHAIR program is its community. Each participant is given the opportunity to walk through the program with accountability and encouragement from our partners, staff, and volunteers.
In the closing moments of the ceremony, Keshia Tigner, KHAIR Program Manager, spoke about how proud she was of the perseverance of the students and what an honor it was to make a positive impact on their bright futures. She honed in on the importance of the KHAIR motto and had each participant quote it. She emphasized that each one of them was unique and they have the ability to change the world with those unique qualities. She then concluded, “Never settle for being similar. Be bold to stand out.”
KHAIR (pronounced “care”) serves at-risk youths by offering on-on-one mentoring relationships, including a wide range of workshops made to teach essential life skills and help boost self-confidence. This program not only helps the young people achieve new levels of personal development, but it provides the ability to create long and lasting relationships with their class members, as well as significant adult role models who are successful and portray healthy qualities and great ways to connect with others.
Congratulations to all of the KHAIR Graduates! We wish you the best with your future endeavors!
For more information visit us at: www.wekhair.org or call us at 203.949.4023