Seven families are living proof that the concept for a 'hand up and not a hand out' actually works.
After two and a half years, Strive 2 Thrive has graduated its first class of families out of poverty.
During Thursday's ceremony, these families told their story of success. Many are single mothers who, in-spite of trials, achieved their high school GED or their associate's degree.
There are even a few graduates who've completed their bachelor's degree and are now working on their doctorate degree.
"It really takes for a person to be stable in the mind to make the choice to be a part of Strive 2 Thrive and I made that decision. I really got tired of trying to do things on my own," said Shanika Owens.
The founder of the national Circles program also made a trip to Albany to celebrate this milestone with the graduates.