12 Families Graduate Out of Poverty
This year’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Graduation honored 12 graduates, bringing the program’s new total to 1,072 people in 385 families.
Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia kicked off the celebration by welcoming all the guests and reflecting on her time as a single mother and how opportunities can impact individual lives. She also recognized BCOC’s ES program as social justice, pulling people up through a hand-up so they can accept available opportunities.
Commissioner Marseglia was followed by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick who spoke on the importance of the ES program and its impact, within Bucks County. He shared that because of the impact of the ES Program, his office was able to help BCOC receive congressionally directed funding.
Nearly every graduate reflected on the program as a hand-up, not a handout. Each of their coaches provided help that they weren’t even sure they needed but were so grateful to receive. The coaches and the program break the stigma of asking for help. One graduate shared that through the ES program, she was able to break the cycle of generational poverty that she had experienced. Her words, “I know my kids won’t grow up to live the life I had to” had the nearly 200 guests in tears.
The 2023 class began the program with an average starting income of $15,806. In the 32-month average time it took for the group to graduate, they increased their income to an average of $54,322. The key to success has been acquiring the additional education and training necessary to earn a living wage. All twelve graduates have improved their position within their company or gained new employment since beginning the program.
BCOC’s CEO, Erin Lukoss ended the night by giving the annual Champion of Self-Sufficiency award to Bucks County Community College and Foundation. The award honors a business, partner, or community member for their role in the success of the ES program. Christina Kahmar-McGinley, Interim Assistant Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation accepted the award on behalf of the college.