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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Sheriff John Mina joined Operation New Hope on October 7, 2022 to celebrate the opening of our newest program location. The Ribbon Cutting and Ready4Work Graduation event was a packed house with over 100 community supporters in attendance.
“With over 20 years experience in providing job readiness training and reentry services in Northeast Florida, we are excited to expand out work to the greater Orlando area,” said Operation New Hope’s President and CEO Reggie Fullwood. “We have helped over 9,000 clients reconnect to the workforce, their families, and the community, and we are committed to creating a statewide network of reentry services throughout Florida.”
Operation New Hope’s Founder Kevin Gay then shared a lovely invocation, followed by encouraging support from Mayor Dyer and Sheriff Mina.
“I’m pleased to be here to welcome Operation New Hope to Orlando,” stated Mayor Dyer. “The City is committed to being a place where everybody feels equally valued and has equal access to opportunities and that includes individuals who have spent time with the criminal justice system. Making it easier for them to have a path is critically important because we know we want them to have a bright future. That is why I’m so pleased that after two decades of great success of the program to have it here in Orlando.”
Sheriff Mina greeted those gathered by saying “It’s a pleasure for me to be here today to welcome Operation New Hope and the Ready4Work program.” He then turned to the graduates and congratulated them on their achievements. He went on to say, “You may ask, ‘Why is the Sheriff standing here supporting this program?’ And that’s because we both have the same values – Operation New Hope and law enforcement – that’s second chances and to keep our community safe. I think everyone in their life has been given a second chance – I know I have!”
The event continued with the presentation of certificates to the first 12 clients in Orlando who completed the Ready4Work Career Development course and they shared how the program has helped changed their lives. A former Ready4Work graduate, Fazil Lewis, who completed the program in Jacksonville in 2018 and now works for Trulite Glass in Orlando, closed out the event by sharing how the program continues to impact his life. “Four years ago I was in the seat right there, and it was a lot and it wasn’t easy. Operation New Hope changed my life forever. My dream is to one day work for Operation New Hope and show you what it’s all about!”
Check out this great article from the Orlando Sentinel spotlighting the event. We are so thankful to the welcoming support that the Orlando community has offered us as we work to expand our programming to serve more. #HopeStartsHere