On Saturday, February 4th, 150 formerly homeless men and women graduated from the Miami Rescue Mission | Broward Outreach Centers in a cap and gown ceremony held at the Marlins Baseball Park. Hundreds of family members and friends were in the stands. The graduation marks a milestone in what has become a miraculous redemption for so many formerly homeless individuals.
The theme of this graduation was “Fight—Faith—Finish!” and the graduates of 2016 have proved that to be true. These brave men and women have been through truly challenging experiences in their formerly homeless lives and despite this, have come out on top — transformed and ready to take on the world. Marlins Park served as a fun and festive backdrop to a day of moving testimonies, celebration of achievement, and words of encouragement for what lies ahead.The ceremony was opened in prayer by Pastor Steve Alessi of Metro Life Church where he reminded graduates they are, “not here by chance, but divine appointment.”
“ I can't believe that a year ago I was living on the streets and today I am in the Marlins Stadium. I feel so special. My family is here and are so proud of the change in my life. This is a day I will never forget.”Richard, Honored Graduate
Miami Center Director Tony Villasuso, President and CEO, Reverend Ron Brummitt, presented Claude Delorme of the Marlins with a special award for his compassion and for the Marlins continual support of MRM | BOC and their involvement in the community. The Marlins have been faithful volunteers for many years and their support has been a significant blessing to the homeless and hungry of South Florida.
There was also a dance number by MAS QUE VENCEDORES (MQV) Dancers who had the crowd on their feet with hands raised by a story told through dance and mime. Mary Alessi of Metro Life Church performed a beautiful song during which the crowd joined along in praise and celebration.
Following the ceremony graduates, staff, volunteers, donors, and loved ones mingled at a lovely reception featuring the fun and funky musical group, “Deep Fried Funk Band”. It was a truly joyous time full of laughter and celebration.
The challenge message was given by Pastor Joey Foster, who encouraged the graduates to continue their new lives.
The final blessing and prayer was given by, Rev. Ronald Brummitt, president of MRM | BOC.
“ I never thought I would change. But, I now know that God loves me and has a plan for my life. I'm enrolled in college for nursing and am very excited about my future. ”Maria, Honored Graduate
The graduates of Miami Rescue Mission | Broward Outreach Centers are looking forward to the next chapters of their lives. Many have already moved on to safe and affordable housing and have jobs. The most recent graduates are now looking for those next steps.
The Miami Campus has served the homeless and needy since 1922. The administration offices, Center for Men, Center for Women and Children, Jeffrey A. Tew Education Center, Community Activity Center-which provides out of school and summer programs for children, Food Warehouse, Health Clinic, and Thrift Stores are located in a three block area off NW 1st Ave. and NW 20th Street. The Centers offer emergency and residential programs. An additional building houses 78 men and has a conference center. The combined Centers provide 390 beds for residential and emergency services.
The Hollywood Campus was opened in 1997 after serving the homeless and needy of Broward beginning in 1992. It was the first center in Broward to offer comprehensive programs for the homeless. The Hollywood Campus has 128 beds for residential programs and 18 emergency beds to serve men, women, and children. It is located at the corner of Scott Street and Old Dixie Highway, near Sheridan Street.
The Pompano Beach Campus was opened in 2002 and has 200 beds for residential programs and 20 emergency beds to serve men, women, and children. The campus is located in the northern part of Broward County near Copans Road. Men, women, and children are served as well as a special program to engage the chronic homeless.
“ Special thanks to all of our donors, supporters, and volunteers who help us serve the homeless and needy. The experience of seeing formerly homeless men and women, in cap and gown, walk the stage and look forward to new lives is so inspiring. Blessings to our graduates and to you. ”Rev. Ronald Brummitt, President