CMCA graduates three in their 'Getting Ahead Program'

Central Missouri Community Action graduated three individuals in their Getting Ahead Program Thursday. The program focused on teaching about the resources needed to pursue a fruitful life. The three graduates
January Waideen, recent graduate of the Step Up to Leadership program, was the guest speaker at the graduation, which was held at the Boonville Fire Station. Waideen wished the graduates well and gave a speech based on her experiences the the leadership program and Community Action Team (CAT). She asked the graduates and audience present what their passion was.
"When I finished the class I really knew what I was passionate about, which was my community," Waideen said.
She said she learned a lot about being a good leader including getting involve and making a difference within the community. She said she hoped the graduates would continue with the leadership program and eventually to CAT.
Abby Lenger said the Getting Ahead Program started with six participants but now has only three. She was very impressed and proud for the graduates because they made it every week, even during the large snow storms.
"This is not easy material. They also had to prepare and come up with a plan for their future," Lenger said.
Each graduate spoke of their experience in the program. James Rhoades thanked CMCA for the program.
"I was struggling with the economy and had been out of work for almost four years. I consider this a building block, which has helped give me a good foundation," Rhoades said.
He said the program helped him understand how to access and use certain resources. It also taught him how the rich, middle class and poor really thought about their situations.
Graduate Jeff Gowin thanked the staff at CMCA for introducing him to the class. He said he was not too sure at first about the class but over time he began to really like it.
"I wasn't really used to people telling me what to do, especially since homework was not part of my schedule," Gowin said. "I learned how to be able to speak to people no matter who they are. This class has helped me become a better person, not just inside, but out as well."
He said he could talk and trust people at CMCA because they were just like him and they had gone through similar ordeals.
"Getting ahead was about learning how we can learn to help our community get people out of poverty," Gowin said.
Graduate David McKee said he had a lot of fun with the class. He also said he learned quite a bit about individual barriers.