Metropolitan Ministries Culinary Arts & Uplift U Graduation

Hope is Here.  It's so true!  That is honestly what they do in Tampa Bay and why I love Metromin and donating my time there whenever I can.  I had the opportunity to photograph the graduation from their Culinary Arts and Uplift U programs. Chef teared up as he talked about his students and celebrated each one as he called them up to be recognized.  They've got jobs in some of the premier restaurants in Tampa like Mise En Place and Ulele.  The Uplift U graduates have completed training that has landed them jobs and stable housing for themselves and their kids (all the kids are so freaking cute:-)!  At some point in life they found themselves in a position of homelessness with no one to turn to.  Metromin helped give them the resources needed to change their life and become self-sufficient. When Tim Marks, President and CEO was talking to them he said something like "this place isn't the best place, the best place is your own place" it's the same as home sweet home right?  Each of the Uplift U grads were recognized and I love that each of the kids got a medal as well.  At the end, they had a little surprise guest for the graduates.  WWE wrestler Titus O'Neil shared his story of how his mom was raped at 11 years old and he was born when she was only 12 years old.  His story is pretty amazing and he lives here in Tampa Bay and does a ton of work with charities helping kids go to college, after school programs, and United Way just to name a few.  This was definitely a very special event and so inspiring!