NYC Steps hold first graduation

Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez and Citywide Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul Merchant presents one of the graduate of the NYC STEPS program graduates with a diploma.

They went from battered to bettering themselves.

It was graduation day last week for eleven survivors of domestic violence in the city’s first class from its NYC Steps program.

The program, by the Mayor’s office to combat domestic violence, was created to help individuals prepare for entry level jobs in the technology field.

In ceremonies held Wendesday, June 27 at the New York City Family Justice Center in the Bronx, diplomas were handed out to the 11 FJC clients from nine different countries who are working toward self-sufficiency, employment, and financial independence.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the graduation of the first NYC STEPS class of our Family Justice Center in the Bronx,” said Yolanda Jimenez, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.

“We hope that with the knowledge and skills that our clients have acquired, they feel empowered and ready to continue their journey towards greater independence,” said Jimenez. “Job-readiness is a key tool for victims of domestic violence in achieving a life of self-sufficiency and one that is free of abuse.”

Graduates attended weekly sessions assisted by FJC personnel, with supplemental instruction from private and public sector volunteer guest facilitators, officials said.

In addition to visiting instructors, NetApp, one of the City’s strategic technology providers, and its partners provided donations of laptop computers, secure storage of laptops, and software for the program.

The program is being piloted through the NYC Family Justice Center’s on-site Self-Sufficiency Program, which was launched in the Bronx in February 2011.

With support from the Avon Empowerment Grant from the Avon Foundation for Women, the Self-Sufficiency Program is now in its third year of helping survivors of domestic violence move from surviving to thriving, officials said.

The Program is administered by a Self-Sufficiency coordinator who supports, educates, and empowers while leveraging as many resources as possible. The NYC Family Justice Center will provide information on paid internships, entry-level job openings, and mentorships, and refer graduates to partner organizations.

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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