You wait hours listening to name after name. When it’s finally her turn to cross the stage, all you can see from your back-row seat is a vaguely recognizable blur. You cheer when her name is called while trying to ignore that they pronounced it wrong.

Graduations can be impersonal, boring, and maybe even frustrating. But not at EMPath.

On June 6, 2019, friends and family filled Florian Hall in Dorchester, where seven graduates of EMPath’s flagship program collected certificates from their mentors. Beaming with pride, mentors spoke about each graduate’s growth and their many accomplishments throughout the program – chief among them, newfound financial stability.

Several graduates also spoke themselves, reflecting on how far they’d come and thanking their mentors for their unconditional support and encouragement.

Each graduate accumulated $10,000 or more in matched savings and secured a job with a family-sustaining wage. The program’s eight graduates (one was unable to attend the ceremony) collectively earned six degrees, increased their credit scores by an average of 102 points, and saved a combined total of $42,596.

Charell Hendricks, one of the graduates, reflected on how much her life had changed in just a few years.

“I forget when it’s pay day sometimes, and that is something that I thought I could only dream of – not living check to check,” she said.

In the program, mentors support participants in setting education, career, family, health, and financial goals. This holistic approach – used across all EMPath programs – is rooted in the idea that effective, empowering mentoring treats people as the whole, complex, nuanced individuals they are. This means recognizing how different areas of life intersect and addressing obstacles in each area.

Mentors also support participants in managing stress. They use tools and techniques based on research about how chronic stress caused by scarcity can affect the brain.

These two components – mentoring and brain science research – make up the foundation of EMPath’s approach to helping families become economically self-sufficient.

Above all, EMPath’s coaching is participant-directed. Participants determine their own goals and work hard to achieve them. With mentors by their side, they accomplish truly amazing things.

Congratulations to the CFO Class of 2019!