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      Graduates strive to thrive outside of poverty

      Strive 2 Thrive held a graduation ceremony Thursday night at Friendship Baptist Church for participates who TMve completed a 16 week upward mobility course called 'Get Ahead in a Just Getting by World'.

      All 18 graduates who will partner with a mentor who will help them find their way out of poverty.

      During the commencement ceremony participants were challenged to remember where they were when they started the course.

      We were in poverty and living in an environment where we needed to move up and to move on forward with our lives, says Sharon Davis, a graduate and mother of two.

      Sharon Davis says she wanted better for her family. With a trade in environmental horticulture, she plans to one day start a floral shop and eventually reach back to help others.

      Ausha Jackson, Director for Strive 2 Thrive, says the next step for all 18 graduates is to be paired with an ally who can help them set their plans into motion.

      Some of their goals are to get driver's license, to obtain better jobs, and to finish their education. Once they move into circles they will have the additional support of allies and the staff to help them along their journey, says Ausha Jackson, Strive 2 Thrive Director.

      Jackson says for the community of Albany this means more people off of welfare and onto the tax base, thus strengthening the local economy.

      For these families tonight is just the beginning of the rest of their lives to move into whatever they have for themselves and to ultimately get out of poverty, said Ausha Jackson.