Over 140 formerly homeless men and women graduated from the Miami Rescue Mission/Broward Outreach Centers in a cap and gown ceremony that was witnessed by nearly 500 attendees. The graduation marks the first step in what has become a lifetime of redemption for many individuals.
The theme of this graduation was “Moving Forward”. The atmosphere was exhilarating upon entering the Community Activity Center of the Miami Campus. The musical prelude was performed by Deep Fried Funk Band followed by the Mission’s own Regenerations singers. The audience was reduced to tears several times as graduates gave testimonies of how the Mission/Outreach Center transformed their lives.
Guest speaker Barbara Sharief, Vice Mayor of Broward County, recounted her story of overcoming losing it all to where she is today. Keynote speaker, WIOD radio personality and former Miami Dolphin Jimmy Cefalo delivered an inspirational message to the graduates that highlighted the importance of character over personal possessions.
The challenge message was given by Bishop Donald Clarke of Harvest Fire Worship Center who shared the parable of the caterpillar who transforms into a beautiful butterfly. There were also performances by MQV Dancers and a song by Shanier Souffrant. The final blessing on the graduates was given by Rev. Ronald Brummitt, president of the Mission.
Each graduate has a story of redemption. Johanz Tovar summarized her path to success this way, “When I came here I did not want to be here nor did I want to stay, plus I was suicidal. But this was the best thing that has happened to me. Here I found a new beginning and a purpose for my life. Today I feel happy and I am now reunited with my three children and my mother. They are in the audience today smiling at me.”