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This week I graduated from a very special six month employability program.

This program contained a heart and soul that is way beyond any government supported program I’ve witnessed or been a part of. The program focuses on women who’ve experienced trauma in their lives and teaches skills to re-enter the workforce with healthy boundaries, positive thinking patterns, confidence, increased self-esteem and professionalism.

The graduation was emotionally charged, especially for all the graduates. Almost everyone of us cried. After sharing our speeches, and being honored for all the hard work that we have done on a professional and personal level, we left Bridges.

Many of us will go back for additional support to the cocoon of love that has been created by all the people who work there. Their passion for helping women, providing healing, one by one, step by step shines through the work they do.

We will not come together again as we did in the classroom, three times each week, for learning and growth. In a short time we created a sense of family together, and now we will leave, each of us on our individual paths, but this time, feeling empowered and confident.

In honor of my graduation, I would like to share with you my speech. I was crying and shaking as I read it aloud in front of around thirty people: new students to the program, fellow graduates and their friends and family and the staff of Bridges.

“When I first came to Bridges I had no idea how much my experiences here would change my life. I came because I intuitively knew it would be invaluable.

I believe there are so many people, men and women, who could benefit from attending a program like this. There were many times a friend of mine would listen to what I’m up to with Bridges and say “Wow, I wish I could experience that.”

My time in Bridges has taught me that I am a strong and invaluable woman, who is an asset to this world. It has shown me that my gifts and strengths can be used, appreciated, explored. I’ve learned to trust myself despite what is going on around me, and to practice self-love every single day.

I am in the process of stepping into my own power and womanhood, a process that Bridges helped to expediate and ground, while providing direction and support that I will be eternally grateful for. I know there is so much that I’ve taken away from this program that I might not have received otherwise.

I’ve learned that I am a soul that thrives on the act of creation, and that it is okay for me to “Follow My Bliss” as Joseph Campbell so famously said. I’ve learned that it is okay for me to make my way in this world, my way.

I am proud to be graduating Bridges with this group of wonderful and beautiful women. I am so happy and grateful that I have been able to witness their journey’s and to have mine witnessed by such strong and wise women who have blossomed so much in these last six months.

Now that I am done Bridges, courage will be my friend, my vulnerability my strength, my heart my guide, my passions my focus, my love my life.

In short, I am a superhero.”