The women handed out pins to the attendees at the banquet and felt tremendously loved and encouraged. It was wonderful to see so many people wearing their pins as they left for the evening.
We Enjoy Graduation, Yes We Do
This year we’ve been privileged to see many women graduate from Evangel Home. We absolutely enjoy celebrating every woman’s big day. While thinking about the process that marks every graduate, our social media manager Gabby found herself asking a few interesting questions. She decided to pitch them to our lovely director, Gerre Brenneman. Here’s what came of it:
Q: Who gets to graduate?
A: Any woman who completes one of our 9-month programs – either CrossRoads or GARDEN.
Q: What does she do during those 9 months?
A: Each program is different
, but the common things are classes, counseling, work, chapel, and getting along with the residents and staff here. It is a lot of hard work.
Q: What happens after graduation?
A: Some women move out and start a better life. Others move into our Community Connection program (part of our apartments) where they can live up to 2 years. This gives them a great foundation to really begin that knew life.
Q: What is a ceremony like?
A: We believe that this is the most important thing we do and for many of our women, this is the first thing in life they have see through and competed. That is really special and each one deserves her own ceremony. Before the big day, we have a team of dedicated volunteers who take each woman shopping, get her hair done and help her to look beautiful. Another volunteer makes a special quilt for each graduate.
Each graduate invites guests, staff comes, board members come, residents come – we all celebrate. The ceremony has basic things like a challenge from me, music and memories, but each one has individual touches. Our diplomas all have our graduation verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Q: What about these plaques on the wall?
A: We end each ceremony with the graduate receiving a special plaque with her name. We all gather in the dining room as the woman hangs her plaque on the wall. At the end of each year, the plaques are taken down and put in our Hall of Faith – the longest hallway in the crisis home. It really is a great accomplishment and some women come back years later just to look at their name or to show it to a child.
Q: Just how many names are on that wall?
A: Going back to 1986, there are about 250.
Q: Do you have special graduation memories?
A: I have many, and one of the things that always gets the box of tissues moving in the crowd is when a husband or father stands up and speaks during our time of shared memories. Another moment that is always special to me is when the graduate is sitting next to a special person and holding their hand. Families are so very close in these times, and I love that.