Our agency has been going through a self-examination as part of a re-branding effort. You will soon see the product of those efforts, but I want to discuss something that touched me as we went through the process.
One of the things we heard from many was that the support they received from our organization helped change their lives. We sometimes become so caught up in the work we do that we do not take the time to enjoy the success of that work. Hearing it first hand made me think back on how often I have personally witnessed lives being changed.
Just last month, I watched eight families adopt 14 children during our annual mass adoption ceremony. I watched parents, children and those in the courtroom weep as they were overcome with emotion on this life-changing day. Kinship families and foster families became forever families with the strike of the judge's gavel. That is powerful.
Every June, we hold a celebration for foster children who persevere and overcome great obstacles to graduate. While the ceremony itself is not life changing, what it represents certainly is. These young people achieved against great odds and put themselves in a better position to succeed. Many of them I know through my work at this agency. While it is sad to see children grow up in foster care, I am proud of their perseverance and the role we play in their life-changing success.
I can look around and see more "life-changing" examples throughout our agency. At our OhioMeansJobs Center, someone gets a job nearly every day. We not only help them find that job, but we help them prepare for it. One example is our Trucking Partnership, where food assistance recipients living in poverty receive the training and support they need to obtain their Commercial Driver's License and then go on to jobs earning nearly $50,000 a year. This partnership was named one of the nation's 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work by the National Association of Counties.