Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christine Stenberg's Graduation Speech

When Allison called me with the good news that I had been selected to speak at graduation I had different emotions go through my mind.

First - panic......if you recall our first day in class I announced that one of my FEARS was speaking in front of a group of people.

Next, I thought what an honor to have my classmates select me to speak........

Finally, I thought you have successfully completed the LA Fellows program and what better way to show one of my accomplishments than by overcoming my fear of speaking......

So...here I am.

Each of us Fellows, arrived at LAVC via different paths. However, our common theme was we were attempting to manage our own unemployment. We dealt with our situations in different ways, but realized that we were not achieving our goals. We recognized that we needed assistance and the commonality that brought us together was the desire to ‘better’ our situation. Thanks to LAVC and all the individuals and organizations that partnered together to create the LA Fellows program, we were able to begin our journey toward rebuilding.

Our first accomplishment was being selected into the program. Next, we spent the last 7 weeks acting like sponges absorbing as much data as we could from each of the great instructors and also from one another. We explored approximately 40 different topics - all of which provided us with a wealth of knowledge.

The classroom phase of our journey has ended, however, our adventure continues. We are now working with our Non-profit partners and will continue to gain knowledge via our experiences. These experiences may lead to employment opportunities for some. Others will journey down yet another path looking for their next adventure.

In any case, we may not be seeing one another as often. However, we recognize the bond that we have created between each of us. We have become an LA Fellows Family (our acronym is LAFF). The importance of this family is that like any family, we know that when one or more of us is in need we can call upon the others and they will be there for support.

In closing I ask each Fellow to think about what this program has meant to them. For me I realize that I have learned many things, however, the #1 item that I walk away with is a new found confidence. This experience allowed me to re-acquaint myself with my strengths and also to recognize the manner in which I should present myself. That realization provided me with the confidence to move forward and be successful. As we were taught......We were successful before, we will be successful again. If that success does not arrive on our first attempt - SO WHAT! Keep moving forward - there is an opportunity awaiting each of us.

Finally, I thank you so very much for this opportunity. I am a better person because of this experience and the program has positively changed my life. I am PROUD TO BE......AN LA FELLOW

Christine presented "Proud to be...an LA Fellow" tshirts to all of the LA Fellows and staff.

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