For the past 3 years I've had the honor to be the event photographer for The Choice is Yours graduation. It is held in the beautiful Mayor's Reception room at City Hall in Philadelphia.
'The Choice is Yours (TCY) is an innovative diversion program for first-time, nonviolent felony drug offenders facing one to two year prison sentences. Upon successful completion, the program offers graduates the opportunity to have their criminal records expunged, removing the stigma of a criminal record.' - JEVS Human Services
TCY Graduate, Kasim Shaw holds his baby daughter while being photographed by David Swanson for the Daily News, which had a nice piece about Kasim and the program.
The annual proud graduate group photo with Alberta Lloyd of JEVS Human Services, who played a major role in helping them graduate.
Many emotions filled the mayor's reception room throughout the afternoon. Pride, excitement, relief, any thing you could imagine from these graduates and their families on this incredible day.
Alberta Lloyd, with JEVS Human Services works with the participants throughout the program and every year she gives the best commencement speeches to the graduates. They are honest, real and from the heart. I wouldn't doubt that she stays in touch with all the grads from the program.
Porshia White was the class valedictorian and spoke of hard work, and no excuses. She completed the program at 29, with 3 children and one on the way. Her husband pictured below was so proud and full of excitement throughout the ceremony.
Salutaturian Shartelle Martinez, speaks before her peers, friends and family. There was an article written on her and another graduate in Al Dia.
Mother and graduate, Nicole Sanchez Ortiz receives her diploma from Alberta Lloyd and follows with handshakes with members of the DA's office.
Graduate Alan Taylor holds his daughter while recieving his diploma.
Congratulations to all the graduates and to all those involved that helped get them where they are. They have inspired and continue to inspire and be role-models to those who are fortunate to know them.