NEW YORK, April 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Last night at Gotham Hall STRIVE celebrated its 25th anniversary at a magnificent event with more than 300 people. ABC's Ron Claiborne presided and John C. Whitehead, one of New York's most respected business and civic icons, was honored. STRIVE is recognized as an innovative leader in programs for hard-to-employ individuals, and is committed to helping low-income men and women permanently replace histories of poverty, public assistance, joblessness or incarceration with living-wage work that brings economic self-sufficiency, dignity and hope to them and their families.
"What makes STRIVE different is its focus on personal responsibility and the culture of work, not just the work itself," said Robert Carmona, STRIVE President. "John Whitehead's early and unwavering commitment to STRIVE has truly made a difference for our organization and we were honored to celebrate him tonight."
The evening featured musical entertainment by Jared Crawford, aka Choclatt Jared, a percussion prodigy and music composer who co-starred and created all of the onstage percussion segments in the four-Tony Award-winning musical "Bring in Da Noise Bring in Da Funk," a house band The Right Track started as a band for and with ex-offenders, and 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl remembered the first time she covered STRIVE more than 15 years ago.
Ron Claiborne passed the microphone to several STRIVE graduates remarking that "their words are more powerful than mine." One graduate, Roy Castro, noted, "STRIVE taught me how to reintroduce myself back into society and they showed me how to turn all my hopes and dreams into reality. It was all the things that STRIVE taught me that I had overlooked all my life that helped me become the man that I am today."
Historically, well over 60% of STRIVE participants are still employed two years after graduation. They become productive, tax-paying citizens who bring hope – not just a paycheck – to their families. Over 400 small and large businesses have employed STRIVE graduates. By targeting an industry's particular needs, STRIVE can then partner with local businesses and community colleges to provide specialized programs consistent with industry demands for its participants.
STRIVE lights the way for chronically unemployed men and women to take control of their own futures through sustained, living wage employment. Its programs have helped to transform the lives of over 40,000 people by exchanging public assistance, incarceration, homelessness or poverty with economic self-sufficiency. Each STRIVE graduate becomes a star in their own right – a shining example for their family and community. STRIVE develops and delivers its programs through its flagship Harlem client training center, and through affiliate centers in 18 domestic and six international cities. To learn more visit www.strivenational.org.