On Nov. 11, Buckner staff, volunteers, community members and former Buckner Family Pathways™ alumni gathered to celebrate three new graduates from the Dallas Family Pathways program. It may have been cold and gloomy outside, but nothing could hide the pure joy exuding from the three women celebrating their achievements and the new adventures that lie ahead of them.
“It is just so good to be together to celebrate these women in-person again,” exclaimed Cynthia Rentie, director of Dallas Family Pathways. "We are so proud of each of you and can't wait to have you come back soon and tell us what you're achieving."
Rhonda Lee, a Family Pathways 2020 graduate, shared an encouraging testimony about her life since graduating from the program with the audience. She is a registered nurse in the emergency department at Medical City Hospital.
The graduation program also had a special guest speaker, Dr. O’Shea Lowery, who shared a message on trusting God and following his calling.
The Family Pathways program offers single parents safe housing, support and the opportunity to further their education and pursue their career goals. Meet the latest graduates who are leaving the program with even bigger goals and dreams to chase.
Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of North Texas. She works for Coca-Cola and spends time volunteering across Dallas at both the YMCA of Dallas and Arlington, as well as in Oak Cliff and the City of Dallas. She is blessed with five children.
“I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this program and will forever be appreciative of the opportunity,” Jackson shared. “I want to send a huge thank you to all the staff from maintenance to security guards, Ms. Cynthia, Taneesha and Jessica, donors and volunteers for all their hard work they put into operating this awesome program and campus.”
Young graduated in May 2022 from Dallas College with an associate degree in science. She is a proud member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and is continuing her education toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She will receive her real estate license this upcoming spring and her long-term goal is to become a midwife. Once she earns her bachelor’s degree, Young will pursue a master’s degree in midwifery.
“This journey hasn’t been easy for me and there were many obstacles to overcome, but I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of Buckner,” Young said. “Being here I could focus on my studies and raise my daughter.”
Wilena “Lena” Duri
Duri was introduced to Buckner over six years ago when she first applied to the program but there were no openings. Facing homelessness and not being able to be with all her children, she didn't let those things stop her. By June 2019, after earning many certifications, applying for housing assistance on her own and even refining her skills through internships, there was an opening at Family Pathways.
She recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in family and children services with a certification in human services and substance abuse. She has purchased a home.
“I want to use this gained knowledge I’ve worked hard to achieve to continue to show my children that no matter how hard life’s path is, I’ll have their back and they can have the world if they work for it,” Duri shared. “Thank you all for believing in me and showing me I can do anything and get through anything!”