Afterschool Professionals Honored for Graduating from Prime Time Initiatives

Afterschool Professionals Honored for Graduating from Prime Time Initiatives

Prime Time staff, board member, funders and partners gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of 56 out-of-school time (OST) professionals at a celebration marked to honor each individual for their commitment to the OST field, elevating quality at their program and creating impactful experiences for the youth whom they serve. The OST professionals were recent graduates of one of three Prime Time professional development learning cohorts dedicated to improving their afterschool practices and programs.  

  • Elevating OST Leadership Initiative made possible by The Frederick A. Deluca Foundation: 10 graduates  
  • STEAM Initiative made possible by The Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County: 18 graduates 

Each graduate received capes and domino masks to match the superhero theme.  As they mingled and settled in, attendees stopped by the photobooth to take heroic pictures while upbeat music set the tone. The graduates were joined by members of their family and friends ready to cheer them on. 

Following the opening activity, Lisa Gregoire and Shabrae Jackson, both professional development specialists and the lead instructors of the Elevating OST Leaders cohort, welcomed two members to share the benefits of the program and how it has helped them in their practices. Each member of the cohort was then brought up and given their certificate as Katherine Gopie, the director of Professional Development, handed them a bag full of gifts for their commitment to the offerings. Each graduate beamed with pride as they received their certificates and looked into the crowd of friends, family and fellow OST practitioners supporting them. The Elevating OST Leaders cohort took practitioners through a journey of leadership skill development and practice, self-awareness, harnessing one’s passions, learning to communicate with fierce compassion, visioning and creating actionable goals for the future. 

After receiving their certificate, each graduate was encouraged to add to “The Heart of a Hero” wall. This was an interactive feature where the honorees were given markers and the opportunity to share any wisdom they had gathered from their cohort session. As each cohort was conferred, the heart turned into a mosaic of messages of what they had learned, and what they wanted to tell other members of the field, including goals they had for themselves and more. 

Each cohort and their respective leaders went through this same process, allowing practitioners to speak on their experiences and then be awarded with a certificate and rewarded with a bag of goodies for their program. Patricia Sasson, Prime Time’s STEAM specialist, joined in honoring graduates of Prime Time’s STEAM cohort. Participants of the STEAM Initiative learned and practiced engaging activities that explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The training series boosted practitioners’ confidence in science knowledge, demonstrating activities that link youth development strategies and intentional STEAM learning opportunities and guided participants in implementing STEAM in their program that is easy and effective. A periodic table bingo game was played allowing her cohort members to flex some of the new knowledge they had gained in her program.  

Fun activities took place during the ceremony and through all of them, Dr. Alison Adler and Suzette L. Harvey, the board president and the president/CEO, respectively, went through the crowd introducing themselves, striking up conversation and joining with OST staff and their families in the activities. The room was full of special guests. Not only was Dr. Adler in attendance, but Susy Diaz, Council Member for the City of Greenacres, also came to support each graduate.  

Prime Time’s Well-being and Life Skills Initiative was the final group to receive their certificates. The largest cohort of the day, accounting for 28 of the 56 graduates, were led by the Well-Being and Life Skills Specialist  Knellee Bisram. She and her cohort members left us with the final message of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, embracing challenges and using them as opportunities, knowing that the work done in the out-of-school time field will inspire the work of children and youth will in the future. 

A final toast to their hard work ended the ceremony. Most stayed around to take pictures with their new certificates and to speak with the Prime Time leaders and staff who had inspired them and allowed them to reach this day.  

Congratulations to the cohort graduates. To find out more information and to sign-up for these trainings as well click here