A tale of 2 graduations: Life Skills and SAFE’s charter school

Written by Emma Rogers

Over the past week, SAFE has had the honor of graduating 18 adults from our Life Skills program, as well as two students from the Kozmetsky Charter School. Through determination and perseverance, these individuals are starting a new chapter of their lives.

Life Skills

This semester, 18 SAFE clients graduated from SAFE’s Life Skills program where they identified new hopes, dreams, and goals.

Life Skills graduate

A graduate of the Life Skills fall semester signing their name on their handprint.

Through a series of 15 workshops, SAFE clients gained skills to help them feel safe and independent after leaving abusive or violent situations. Workshop topics include self-esteem building, stress management, parenting, goal setting, money management, and much more.

Cema Mastroleo, Life Skills Coordinator, said that when someone enters the Life Skills program, it’s because they have made the decision to turn a new page in their lives toward healing and independence. After receiving their diplomas, the graduates left their names and handprints on the Life Skills tree to signify their new journeys.

“This is a place which has become a home to me and to many of us. A place where we cry, laugh, and share many moments. It’s a place where they let us know that we are not alone” — Life Skills graduate

Cema ended the ceremony by encouraging the graduates to come back to visit by attending or even teaching a future class. “It’s up to you now to choose the sidewalk to lead a deliberative, full life, with healthy choices and respectful people, like you deserve,” Cema said.

Kozmetsky Charter School

An emotional graduation ceremony on Dec. 15 honored two students from SAFE’s George M. Kozmetsky Charter School, celebrating their achievements and success during their time at the school.

Charter School graduates

Graduates of the Kozmetsky Charter School honored at the Dec. 15 graduation ceremony.

Kozmetsky provides educational and behavioral support services in an environment that promotes safety and healing for survivors of sexual and domestic violence and child abuse.

“Today’s celebration has already shown you how capable you are at accomplishing your goals when you commit yourself to something,” Maddox Jackson, SAFE’s Behavior Support Specialist, told the graduates.

“Getting to this day has not been easy for me. I had to face many struggles. But I know in the end, these struggles have made me a stronger person.” — Kozmetsky Charter School graduate


The room was full with the graduates’ friends, family, teachers, and mentors, who watched proudly as they each received their diplomas.