Nineteen people complete important step to a new life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 25, 2002

Three months ago, 18 women and one man were receiving public assistance to pay their bills and feed their children. They then decided to attend the STOP Center for Employment Training Program. At 2 p.m. Tuesday in Metropolitan Baptist Church, those 19 students earned certificates in a graduation exercise.

Ed Smith is the job development specialist of the Center for the Employment Program.

&uot;Our purpose is to provide an avenue for success and empowerment to those that under any other circumstances may not have had this type of opportunity,&uot; said Smith. &uot;That is why it was a wonderful thing to see the class enter the sanctuary of the church to receive their certificates.&uot;

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The keynote speaker was Dr. Melvin R. Boone. He brought a message on the importance of the graduates’ new duties and their responsibilities to the community.

Graduates were Kimberly Allison, Marie Boone, Johnnie Brown, Ella Bryant, Makesha Holmes, Patricia Holmes, Delores Jones, Gail Jones, LouVoar Kelly, Lavorn Lassiter, Latisha Mitchell, Tarina Parker, Monique Richardson, Landora Robertson, Tomika Robertson, Sadie Vann, Tavarus Whitehead, Elaine Williams, and Fulissa Wilson.

Thanks to the necessary sponsorship of STOP, these people will have to take the State Board Exam in 120 days to become eligible to work in the medical field.

In the meantime, the certificates do qualify them employment as aides, and over 80 percent of the class has already become gainfully employed as nurse’s aides because of their perseverance and instructions given by the staff of the Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project (STOP).

The state and national boards of nursing have approved STOP’s nursing curriculum and licensed registered nurses to teach the courses. Students also receive a small stipend – $4.25 a day to cover transportation. Ninety-eight percent of STOP graduates go on to work in the medical field. However, there is still a great demand for nursing assistance in the Suffolk area. Many of the nursing assistants will be working in home-care facilities or nursing homes.