Monday, April 6, 2015

Cohort 11 Graduates

Lennie Ciufo addresses a capacity crowd for the Graduation ceremony of LA Fellows Cohort 11.
The LA Fellows program graduated its most recent cohort on March 13th. The occasion was celebrated in a ceremony in the Fireside Room of Monarch Hall on the campus of Los Angeles Valley College. The room was filled with family, friends, job training staff, college officials, business leaders, WorkSource representatives and representatives from our elected officials.

LA Fellow Ruth Ford laughs along with one of
the many witty speakers.
As part of their training, every LA Fellow agrees to do 100 hours of project-based volunteerism with a nonprofit organization of their choice. The LA Fellows who were volunteering at an organization who had representatives in attendance each stood up and told the crowd about the organization's mission and a description of the project that they are working on. The nonprofits who are matched with Fellows volunteers from Cohort 11 include:

  • American Red Cross Los Angeles Region 
  • Center for Nonprofit Management
  • Children’s Burn Foundation
  • Community Career Development
  • Foundation for Pierce College
  • JVS – Marina Del Rey WorkSource Center
  • Office of LA City Councilman Paul Krekorian
  • Los Angles Ronald McDonald House
  • ONEgeneration
  • Silhouettes for Vets
  • Therapeutic Living Centers for the Blind
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • Universal City North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
  • Valley Community Healthcare
  • The Valley Economic Alliance
  • A World Fit for Kids
Michelle Gilstrap of the Universal City North
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which is
hosting LA Fellow Erica Dozier as a volunteer
Social Media Event Coordinator.

Alan Percy explains the mission of nonprofit
organization A World Fit for Kids, where he is
donating his time as a volunteer Grant Writer.

Alex Bryman introduces Site Supervisor and Veterans
representative Anthony Rodriguez with JVS Marina Del Rey,
where she is volunteering 100 hours of service as a Career Counselor.

Bismark Romero and Brian Sullivan, two of the three LA Fellows of Cohort 11
 who are doing volunteer projects at the Center for Nonprofit Management,
stand and listen with pride as fellow Fellow Frank Sulzberger introduces the
organization and its representatives. Brian and Bismark volunteer their time as
Fund Development Associates at CNM.

Frank Sulzberger introduces Gigi
Nang and Linnie Riboli of the
Center for Nonprofit Management.
He completed his hours with
the organization as a
Consulting Program Associate.

LA Fellow Carol Blakeslee rings a bell. In many organizations, including
the Valley Economic Alliance, - where she is volunteering as an Economic
Development Consultant - and LAVC Job Training, home of the LA Fellows
program, a bell is rung to announce a  job seeker landing a position.

Like most graduation ceremonies, there was no shortage of speeches. The Fellows heard parting advice from instructors, words of encouragement from local leaders and reflections on the experience from two of their own.

Lennie Ciufo introduces Kenn Phillips, President of the Valley Economic Alliance, board member
 for the LA Fellows program, and supporter of the program since its founding almost five years ago. 
Mark Brenner with nonprofit veterans' group Silhouettes for Vets and
LA Fellows instructor Roberto Gutierrez strike a pose for the camera.
Silhouettes for Vets is hosting LA Fellow Reina Shelton, who is
volunteering as an Administrative and Coaching Intern.

All 28 Fellows were awarded certificates of completion from the program, a lapel pin, and several certificates of recognition provided by the elected officials who represent the Valley and LA areas. As expressed by the Fellows themselves, however, the most important thing they took away was a renewed confidence in their worth in the job market and optimism in the future of their careers. The LA Fellows program shares that outlook and is proud to welcome Cohort 11 to the ranks of the over 300 LA Fellows graduates to date.

Sydney Kamlager offers LA Fellow Ruth Ford
congratulations and a certificate on behalf
of Senator Holly Mitchell.
Instructor Lynnette Ward presents graduate Bismark
Romero with a framed certificate of accomplishment
provided by Congressman Tony Cardenas.

Josh Kurpies prepares to present a certificate from Assemblymember Richard Bloom as
Talene Dermenjian with Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian's office congratulates LA Fellow
Fred Jackson on his graduation and his articulate and heartfelt commencement speech.

LA Fellow Nancy Sisson hugs instructor Sam Borelli, in appreciation of the difference
the training she received has made in her job search. Fellow graduate Paul Stevens
looks on, sharing the joy of the day.
Proud LA Fellows Program Director
Allison Silver and instructor Larry Braman
wait in line to congratulate the Fellows
as they receive their certificates.

LA Fellows graduate Mark Manuculich landed a job prior to the end
of classes but was able to join his Cohort for the ceremony. He was
also honored for his service, as a veteran of the US Marine Corps.

Instructor Sam Borelli and LAVC Job Training's Lennie Ciufo look on as instructor
Lynnette Ward presents LA Fellows graduate and veteran Regina Shelton with one
of several impressive certificates provided by elected officials who support
the work the program does.
LA Fellow Justin Storrs, graduate of Cohort 11,
admires the certificate of recognition provided by Senator Holly Mitchell commemorating
the completion of the program
Talene Dermenjian congratulates Jen Johnson on
her graduation from the LA Fellows program.
Instructor Sam Borelli presents graduating LA Fellow Gus Hulander with the iconic
LA Fellows lapel pin. Every Fellow dating back to the first Cohort
has received a pin to signify their place in the Fellowship.

1 comment:

  1. What a great day, and such a perfect ending to a grrrrrrrrrrrreat program!

    KUDOS to the LA Fellows team for taking such care to ensure our success in the program, and throwing such a meaningful celebration! To our instructors... you are the best for giving it your all and more, guiding our growth, and having fun in the process!

    Mary, Allison, Lenny, and the rest of the team: You should feel great pride for your hard work & contributions, as we Cohorts reap the benefits, and take away so much inspiration and gained knowledge from all of you, contributing to our "landing" processes. And to my Fellow Cohorts, your input in this learning process was vital, and I am grateful for all you have shared and mentored!

    And to the many partners that work with funding the LA Fellows program, THANK YOU, as your contributions help to see the students' dreams come to fruition. A big THANK YOU to all the participating Non-Profit organizations that offer internship to the LA Fellows students. We are proud to contribute, and make a difference to your organizations!

    Last words: I would highly recommend the LA Fellows program to anyone in career transition. It is an invaluable springboard to a successful, professional future! SAY YES!