Category: PYN | Jun 1, 2010
"The E3 Center gave me something I really wanted, a second chance. I didn't think I would make it to this graduation, but I proved myself wrong, and I'm excited. This is surreal," revealed Pedro Ortiz, a graduate of the E3 Southwest Center, as he addressed the audience at the E3 Centers Graduation.
The ceremony was held at Moore College of Art and Design. This year, 79 graduates hailed from the five centers located throughout the city.
As the graduates processed into the auditorium filled with family members, E3 Centers staff, and program supporters, they were met by roaring applause and even tears. It was clear that everyone present was proud that these young people had prevailed over their challenges and were now on the path to promising futures.
Raheem Warthen, a graduate of the E3 West Center, expressed how his participation in the program has made a lasting an impact on his life: "The E3 Center has been a true blessing in disguise Beginning my educational road at E3 was scary and hard, but by following the simple rules and trying my hardest, I now sit here as a graduate with employment. My life now has a future. I can see where I want to be and where I will be."
E3 stands for Education, Employment and Empowerment. The five Centers that operate as a part of the E3 initiative are designed to help members achieve long-term educational, career and personal goals. They offer basic skill-building experiences for youth that have dropped out of school or are returning from juvenile placement as well as ongoing case management services.
Charmaine Mitchell shared how her experience at E3 North transformed her outlook: "When I started at the E3 North Center in April 2007, I was confused and didn't know what direction to go with my life...My experience at the E3 Center taught me that you just have to keep your head upâ€¦ I've learned that can't is not an option."
Success is now an option for the E3 Centers Class of 2010. Philadelphia Youth Network manages the E3 Centers and contracted with the following organizations to operate E3 Centers during the 2009/2010 program year:
Congreso de Latinos Unidos, E3 Girard Branch
Resources for Human Development, E3 North Broad Branch
The Bridge, an affiliate of PHMC, E3 West Branch
IndoChinese American Council, E3 Logan Branch
Communities In Schools of Philadelphia, E3 Southwest Branch
Support and funding for the E3 Centers initiative is provided through the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Workforce Investment Act.