6 CareerBridge Students Celebrate Graduation From Ralph J. Bunche Academy

By Eric Steckel | January 22, 2018

As in life, there is no single path to a fulfilling career. Pursuing a career path that aligns your values and your passions is a very good place to start. As our CareerBridge program enters its fourth year at the Ralph J. Bunche Academy in West Oakland, we have witnessed many Oakland youth start down their own personal career path with excitement and confidence. 

CareerBridge Student celebrates Ralph J. Bunche Academy graduation

Valedictorian Yasmine Lewis – with the Red CareerBridge sash – celebrates her graduation.

The Bunche Academy is a unique educational environment that cultivates and nurtures young scholars in a Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation (HTR) curriculum. Just as importantly, it is “grounded in the values of service, leadership, and connection.” The concepts of service, leadership and connection align perfectly with Children Rising’s mission to prepare today’s youth for a life of serving others and contributing positively to their communities.

This year, after listening and responding to the needs of Principal Betsye Steele, we added a Business Administrative Certification Workshop. Students were able to take a 24-hour series of classes to earn credit, experience hands-on learning, and receive special recognition at their graduation. After students complete our Business Essentials Workshops, they are offered an internship opportunity. Because of the skills they’ve learned, they are more confident, prepared, and have a better chance to be successful. It also offers students a glimpse of themselves in a workplace. 

At the conclusion of our last BAC workshop, our student Ashley Price said, “Thank you for today. I knew business was something I needed to learn, but I didn’t know how I was going to get it and I know now why I need to understand it.”

Of the 18 students in this year’s winter graduating class, there were six students in particular who displayed extraordinary confidence at their graduation ceremony. Their caps and gowns were complimented by distinct red sashes indicating that they had completed our CareerBridge BAC Workshops. Each of these six students, including Valedictorian Yasmine Lewis, learned skills that they will carry with them in their prospective college and career pursuits. 

“This past semester we’ve seen lives and attitudes change for the better,” explains Margena Wade-Green, Director of CareerBridge. “Some students begin our classes with no idea of what their futures could be, the difference between a job and a career and furthermore, no clue of the concepts of ‘business.’ ”

We are proud to be a part of the community that has supported their growth into the exceptional young adults that they are today, and we are excited to see what the future holds for them.

We encourage you to volunteer in our Career Bridge program as a mentor or by hosting a summer intern. Just 1 hour per week in spring and summer can help a young adult prepare for their crucial final years of high school. We provide the training. You provide the wisdom.