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LaTroy Hawkins & Action Team Captains from Denver host Graduation for Homeless Youth

LaTroy Hawkins and Action Team Captains from Jefferson Academy High School 
in Colorado assist graduation recognition event for homeless youth from neighboring 
Bannock Youth Center.
LaTroy Hawkins and Action Team Captains from Jefferson Academy High School in Colorado assist graduation recognition event for homeless youth from neighboring Bannock Youth Center.

Denver – When 13 young people graduated from a Volunteers of America program that strives to equip homeless youth with the skills they’ll need to be self-sufficient, Rockies pitcher LaTroy Hawkins and 14 local high school volunteers from the Action Team national youth volunteer program were there to celebrate their achievement.

Hawkins and the Action Team Captains from Jefferson Academy in Broomfield, Colo., felt it was important to demonstrate community support and recognize the formerly homeless graduates’ strength of spirit, resilience and perseverance despite the significant obstacles they faced.

“The Jefferson Academy Action Team went above and beyond to make the recognition event at the Bannock Youth Center a truly special day,“ Christopher Battelli, the Youth and Family Volunteer Coordinator for the Denver Volunteers of America affiliate, said after the May 9 event.

“Planning the activities, decorations, and overall structure of the event, the Action Team used their unique understanding of the youth clients at Bannock to create a truly meaningful experience for all who attended.”

A sudden downpour moved the event indoors, but didn’t dampen the celebration. The Action Team’s pirate-themed party was a hit, especially with the children of some of the graduates who enjoyed games and face painting planned by the high school volunteers.

Hawkins announced the graduates, many of whom earned GEDs, and handed out their certificates.

A local engineering company and supporter of Bannock, Swanson Rink, provided lunch for all graduates and their families from Qdoba. The local engineering company also established a scholarship program for those graduates who may seek secondary education.

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To join the Action Team program please click here.

The Bannock Youth Center, a program administered by Volunteers of America, works with homeless youth ages 16-24 and equips them with the skills needed to be self-sufficient. The Center provides rent and job assistance, parenting classes, GED classes and life skills classes. When a teen graduates from the program they are able to maintain stable housing on their own in addition to a steady job.

To see photos from the event, check out our gallery.