26 former prison inmates will participate in a modified graduation ceremony in Santa Maria to celebrate their completion of a community re-entry program.
The ceremonies are scheduled for Friday June 12 and Saturday June 13 at the Day Reporting Center.
Rather than a traditional commencement ceremony, participants will attend individual graduation appointments where they can have personal celebrations with their families. Graduates will receive a completion certificate, congratulatory letters from the community and have cap and gown photos taken. Community Partner awards and special recognition rewards will also be presented.
Graduates will watch a pre-recorded congratulatory video by Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, who typically gives a keynote speech.
The graduates of the program served time in state prison and were referred to the Day Reporting Center by their parole agents. The students participate voluntarily.
The program is meant to connect the students with case managers and employment specialists to set specific personal achievement goals and make positive changes to their lives.
Many students are connected with substance abuse treatments, cognitive behavioral intervention, employment services, school counseling and transitional housing support.