A graduation ceremony was held recently for 24 male and female participants who completed the program offered by GEO Reentry Services at the Kern County Day Reporting Center in Bakersfield, California.
The February 19 gathering took place at a local restaurant, where attendees included Kern County Chief Probation Officer T.R. Merickel and Deputy Probation Officer III and Probation Supervisor Christian Nakanishi.
The two county officials stood before participants’ family and friends and delivered an encouraging message to participants, honoring their achievements and acknowledging the program’s significant challenges. Typically lasting about nine months to a year, the GEO Reentry program offers Moral Reconation Therapy, substance abuse treatment, parenting programming, life skills training and other educational and therapeutic courses.
Twelve of the 24 who completed reentry programming were honored as “all-star participants,” which means they went above and beyond in their responsibilities to the program, including good attendance, on-time arrival and excellent participation.
The ceremony also included a moment of silence for one participant who passed away due to a medical condition shortly before graduation; the participant’s wife accepted his certificate of completion on his behalf.
Going forward, program graduates can look forward to a positive new beginning as they transition back into their local community, armed with the knowledge and skills they have gained from the program.
“We’re so proud to see so many participants who are really engaging in the program and who are committed to making change through our programming,” said Kern County DRC Education Coordinator Cindy Cuevas.