Moving Ahead Program Graduation: Class 163

Moving Ahead Program budget

Today Class 163 of the Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program celebrated their graduation.

Each graduation is a joyfully proud and emotional recognition of our students’ accomplishment at overcoming addictions, unemployment, and homelessness to complete the 14-week program. Our graduates move ahead, learning and adopting healthy coping mechanisms in times of stress, gaining employment, and finding an apartment to move into.

Andrea Farina, Vice President, Programs & Services, had some words to share with our graduates today.

Valentine’s Day is quickly coming up—only 2 1/2 weeks away. Every stop in CVS to get deodorant or toothpaste or gum begs us to remember “love”.

And, as such, I come with one key question for you: Who is Charlie Chaplin and what does he have to do with Valentine’s Day you might ask….Well, I’ll let you figure out the answer to that question as we go along….

First, let me tell you about Charlie.

Charlie was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer. In his 75 year long career he made numerous movies, received 3 Academy awards, became the subject of many stage productions, and solidified himself as one of the most important figures in film history.

He is also considered one of the greatest rags to riches stories of all time.

Charlie was born into extreme poverty and hardship in London in 1889. With an absent father and a struggling mother, he was sent to a workhouse at age 7 and put into an institution for destitute children. His mother was in and out of mental asylums throughout Charlie’s childhood. At one point, Charlie and his brother were sent to live with the father they barely knew. He was a severe alcoholic and died of cirrhosis of the liver.

Anyone looking at Charlie’s life, and his chances for success, would have written him off.

Yet, he found something within himself that propelled him forward. Certainly, he had talents that most of us don’t have, myself included.
But the point here is not how talented he was.

Not unlike many people in this room, he knew what it meant to really struggle—to worry about the next meal and the next bed, to experience the effects of mental illness and substance abuse in his family.

Given all of his success, he still, at age 70, was struggling with what it means to love oneself. So, this Valentine’s Day, I wanted you to hear from Charlie Chaplin.

Charlie worked hard to tell himself the same lessons MAP teaches. 

This Valentine’s Day, remember that this journey has already been an act of love. Reflect, relish your journey and continue to find the love in the big and small moments of your life.

Congratulations and Best of Luck!

-Andrea Farina