Nearly 100 community members from across Sacramento witnessed Women’s Empowerment graduate 27 formerly homeless women from the comprehensive eight-week job-readiness program at the end of June. The graduates each shared their stories of their rise from homelessness, some through poetry, some through song and some through prose – all wearing tiaras to match their chosen theme “Queens Uplift Queens.”
“I want to talk to the queens,” sang Derkisha Wofford, a graduate. “Whatever you set your heart to, just believe. Don’t give up on yourself. I love you all.”
From graduates’ mentors, families and children, to organization supporters, graduation attendees heard each graduate’s story and future plans. Each woman accepted a certificate of achievement, received a new handbag filled with a day planner and other items designed to help her succeed, and enjoyed a reception, all sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Carmichael.
“Each of our 27 graduates has made incredible strides in just eight weeks,” said Lisa Culp, executive director of Women’s Empowerment. “Though each woman’s story of homelessness is as unique as her fingerprint, they all joined together to create a sisterhood that helped them rise from poverty to self-reliance. Their value is priceless and their potential is limitless.”
Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Women’s Empowerment was recently featured on NBC’s TODAY Show and CNN’s Impact Your World for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women who are homeless and their children. The 2014 Organization of the Year has graduated 1,349 homeless women and their 3,500 children. Last year, 93 percent of graduates found homes and 83 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded solely through private donations from the community. To donate online: www.womens-empowerment.org.