ICYMI: Placer Probation gives Re-Entry Program graduates a second chance
By Stacey Adams In Gold County Media
The Placer County Probation Department held a ceremony for the 2020-22 graduating classes of the Placer Re-Entry Program (PREP) on Thursday evening.
PREP provides educational and vocational programs tailored to participants’ needs to prepare them to transition back into the community. According to the county website, PREP resources include education, life skills, substance-abuse programming and employment.
The ceremony opened with David W. Gordon, superintendent of the Sacramento County Office of Education, congratulating the graduates on their hard work to reach this milestone.
“I hope you all realize that what you have accomplished is extraordinary, it is extraordinary,” he said. “And what you continue to do in this program, and as you move forward, is remarkable. Don’t understate or underestimate that which you have been able to do. Ours is a nation of second chances, and you have all invested in giving yourselves that second chance.”
The ceremony included highlighting participants of the Northern California Construction Training program and two individuals, Edward Anauo and Natalie Ramirez, sharing their stories and what PREP means to them.
“I was met with so much kindness and understanding with the team at PREP,” Anauo said, noting he didn’t know how to pay rent and never held a steady job before participating in the program. “… And for the first time in a really long time, I felt like an individual. I didn’t feel like a number, like I was a part of a system.”
Ramirez shared how the program gave her “life through a new perspective” and how she has been able to be a present mom, a reliable employee and even bought her first home.
“We aren’t bad people. We make mistakes,” she said. “That doesn’t mean that we’re doomed for life. We get second opportunities. We get to be accountable for our actions, realize where we went wrong and grow from it. My life today is completely different than it was three and a half years ago.”
After the graduates were recognized and walked across the stage, Chief Probation Officer Marshall Hopper concluded the ceremony by telling the participants to remember they have a support system, and to continue to come by the Probation Department for assistance or share how great they are doing.
“Remember the journey,” Hopper said. “Remember how proud you are today and how you feel so as you move forward in your life and your next chapter, whatever that may be, just do one thing for yourself: Stay proud of yourself.”
PREP is one of many programs the probation department offers, and being recognized for, that are designed to change lives as well as behavior. Placer County Probation will receive the Placer County Award for its service and dedication to the community at the State of the Community Awards dinner Oct. 6 at the Gold Hill Gardens in Newcastle.