Last night, we had a tremendous celebration for more than 50 of our foster youth who have overcome incredible obstacles to graduate from high school. Our Celebration of Dreams event is always one of the highlights of my year.
The event includes dinner and an awards ceremony featuring student speakers, a keynote speaker and speeches from both agency and county leaders. The ceremony also includes the presentation of certificates, scholarship awards and other gifts for the graduates.
The teens invite their foster families and other important people in their lives, such as caseworkers, CASAs and guardian ad litems.
I’d like to thank Hamilton County Coroner Dr. O’dell Owens for an inspiring speech, and WDBZ’s Lincoln Ware for emceeing with humor and keeping the event running smoothly. And of course, all of the volunteers within and outside our agency for making the event so spectacular.
But I want to especially thank our graduates. These young people have to work harder than their peers to achieve academic success. They, along with their foster parents and those close to them, deserve a celebration and a pat on the back. This event is a fantastic opportunity to say congratulations to them and thank you to our foster parents, caseworkers and others who have provided the necessary support to make this day a reality.
I hope this is the beginning of a better life for these youth. This group has already shown they are fighters. Taking the next step will be a challenge, but their dedication and determination will help them be a success at anything they choose to do.