Family, friends and community leaders recently attended the fourth graduation celebration of the Light House’s B.E.S.T. (Building Employment Success Training) program. Due to the growing size of the graduating classes and the number of guests the graduation ceremony and reception was held at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, who donated the space.
The graduates were honored with a graduation ceremony in front of friends, family, B.E.S.T alumni, Light House Board of Directors and staff. In addition to receiving a certificate of completion, Dr. Classie Hoyle, Alderwoman, Third Ward, Annapolis, delivered citations to each student from the City of Annapolis.
This was the fourth class to graduate in the B.E.S.T program included five culinary arts students, four Facilities Maintenance students and four Retail students. Right after graduation, two of the Culinary Arts students were higher worked a catering job in Washington, DC for President Obama’s Inauguration. According to Light House’s Executive Chef Linda Vogler, “this was an opportunity of a lifetime for them. I was so proud of my students and I know they are grateful for the experience.”
Since its inception, the B.E.S.T. program has graduated forty-three students. Alumni are employed by local businesses including AAMC, Shopper’s Food Warehouse, USNA, Safeway, Metro Diner, Kohl’s and Sears.
“The Light House has made such a difference in my life – it has changed it forever. Being in the B.E.S.T program has bettered my life – I was taught skills that I will use the rest of my life. The staff at Light House is very loving and caring. They treat you like a person rather than a client. They worked hard to give me the guidance and support I needed to become successful. Now that I have graduated from the B.E.S.T. program, I am working with my job coach looking for full time employment.”
– B.E.S.T. graduate January 2013.
With funding from a Ladders to Success grant from the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County B.E.S.T. has become a core program at Light House that builds job-training skills to help its clients’ secure sustainable employment and permanent housing. Clients participate in a 12-week training program that includes one-week assessment, three weeks of basic skills training, followed by eight weeks of training and paid internships in specific disciplines including Culinary Arts, Facilities Management and Retail. Volunteer job mentors work with the graduates for at least three months to provide support and guide them through the initial employment
Additional funding for the B.E.S.T. program has been provided by the Hussman Foundation, the Marion I. and Henry J. Knott Foundation and Friends of the Light House.
For more than 23 years, the Light House has provided emergency shelter, transitional housing, food, clothing, eviction assistance and related support services to people by providing a place of belonging, life changing programs and a broad continuum of support for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
If you have a business and would be interested in becoming a job mentor for our B.E.S.T. students contact Michele Marshall at 443. 569.4208 or via email marshall@annapolislighthouse.