TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The sky is the limit for more than 20 young adults who got their high school diplomas on June 21 after being jobless and unemployed.
The graduation, all through Tallahassee's TEMPO program, which guides Tallahassee's "at-risk youth" away from a lifestyle of crime by helping them get training, jobs or education.
"I was struggling mentally, emotionally, physically. I didn't know where I was going to be in life. I wasn't sure I was even going to live," said Joshua Wade, graduate of TEMPO program.
Turning his struggle into success wasn't easy for Wade. Fortunately, he had the TEMPO program to help him along the way.
But for TEMPO's program coordinator Dr. Kimbell Thomas, helping Wade and others is a meaningful opportunity.
"This is a real need dealing with real people. This program was written on their behalf to say 'hey, let's have a conversation, let's have an engagement, let's build relationships and let's invest you back into the civics of this community," said Dr. Thomas.
The TEMPO program has helped 500 young adults, not working or in school, get training, jobs or education.
"They're subject to indices of crime and domestic abuse," said Dr. Thomas.
Dr. Thomas says half of the people in the program committed some type of crime before joining and none of them have committed one since getting involved in the program.
Wade, along with the 20 other TEMPO grads, can't stop smiling as they proudly hold their new diplomas and talk about the excitement the future holds for them.
"Jobs are opening up for me left and right. I'm going to college soon," said Wade. "And it's shown me that no matter what's thrown your way setbacks are just lessons. All you got to do is push through it and you'll become successful."
Next, Wade plans on getting his culinary degree from Lively Technical College.
He's had the same goal in sight since he was 12-years-old, opening his first restaurant by the time he turns 25.
He already knows the name and everything, Black Velvet Euphoria.