Two-Gen Program Graduating 12 CNAs



A class of certified nursing assistants will graduate this week from a new program at Booker Middle School training adults to enter new careers, but philanthropy leaders behind the effort say the greatest gain from the program may come with the next generation. “What better way to inspire a child to do better in school than to see their role model in life actually doing it and bettering their lives,” says Mireya Eavey, United Way Suncoast Sarasota Area president.

United Way in partnership with CareerEdge Funders Collaborative helped fund tuition and state exam fees for the program, which helped parents living in the north Sarasota area. The class included an eight-week course facilitated by the American Red Cross and soft skills program called Bridges to Careers that instructed participants on skills like resume writing. A graduation ceremony and healthcare-focused career fair will be held Thursday evening at Booker Middle’s cafeteria.

Eavey says the program follows the two-gen (2Gen) model, helping both parents getting trained and providing for their children. The class follows in the steps of programs like Eagle Academy at Alta Vista Elementary, an effort backed by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Successful initiatives such as these programs have won national acclaim for Sarasota's efforts to help low-income and working-class families—both the parents and children—in a cooperative fashion.

John Annis, senior vice president of community investment for the Community Foundation, says that program has won the attention of luminary organizations like the Aspen Institute, which encouraged more new programs that may initially appear risky but can improve the community in effective ways both direct and indirect. Annis says efforts like this made him realize modern philanthropy now trades in risk capital, the type once reserved for business incubators and angel investors. “We need to be taking more risks,” Annis says.

Read more about the new approach in the "Investing in Good Risk" feature in the December issue of SRQ Magazine.

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