At New Hope’s October 7th graduation at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation office on Wheeler Street, we also celebrated the vision and achievement of Tom Cook and Angele Hawkins, founders of New Hope as a premier job-readiness training program for people in hardship. To honor them, two former graduates –Nicholas Holmes and Briggette Derrico-Lawrence– were the recipient of the first Founders Awards with a cash prize given by an anonymous donor. Both of these remarkable business people and community leaders put their heart and soul, as well as untold hours of their time and financial resources, into setting up training and assisting graduates to become fully employed. Their first and most critical task was to find a proven soft-skills training program to teach program participants how to behave successfully in the workplace. They found a model of excellence in STRIVE International, which has a proven track record of over 30 years. In addition they hired excellent staff, developed technical training programs, secured funding and created a board of directors. Over 700 people have now graduated from New Hope and have the skills necessary to get and keep full-time employment.
JaMecca Davenport, a STRIVE and Levy Restaurants’ Culinary Arts graduate working in the food industry, represents the thoughts and feelings of many graduates about our Founders: “There are people in this world who talk about the change the world needs. There are people that say ‘somebody needs to help the less fortunate, the under-educated, and those who are just without resources.’ Then there are the two of you, Angele & Tom, who decided to be that Someone TODAY to help better individuals for TOMORROW.”
The award recipients were chosen by the New Hope staff from among graduates who have been in employment for nine months or more, are currently working and excelling with STRIVE values. Other Nominees: Richard Linder, Debra McKenzie, Cierra Walker