An Invitation for Trans4mation completes successful semester at Stanback
By Charlie Pogacar, News of Orange Editor
On Wednesday, May 24,  male AL Stanback students gathered in the school’s cafeteria after school for a celebration. The occasion was the completion of local nonprofit An Invitation For Trans4mation’s pilot program, which was a great success this semester.
On hand were local figureheads including members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County EMS, Orange County 4-H, representatives from BB&T, and C.H.A.N.G.E, a male group sponsored by Beyond Measure, to share a meal with the students. Local supporters unable to attend were dentists Dr. Chang and Dr. Daniels.
In a display of deference that seemed to speak for the collective character the young men have developed over the course of the semester, when asked who would get in line for the food spread first, they all shouted in unison, “our guests!”
An Invitation For Trans4mation was founded in 2012 by Cozzetta Caldwell as she was seeking to find a way to contribute to a sense of community in Orange County.
“I got tired of hearing people talking about the next generation, and how they’re going downhill and things like that, but not doing anything about it,” Caldwell said. “I felt it was incumbent upon me to start something that would allow people in the community like me to get involved and help this next generation, so if they didn’t have those tools at home, they could still have a place to get those tools. We are just a supplement to what they have.”
From 2012 until now, An Invitation for Trans4mation has been funded through donations, fundraisers and volunteer work, and helps adults find employment by teaching them how to write resumes and approach job interviews. BB&T of Hillsborough, through the Lighthouse Project, has donated a laptop to the organization to assist in the organization’s continued outreach efforts.
The program launched at AL Stanback has the organization working with male students after school toward three main goals: youth development, self development, and occupational development.
Caldwell says these goals are accomplished by sticking to some core principles: courage, honesty, attitude, integrity, respect, and success.
Many of the guests who were on hand, including Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood, had spoken to the boys throughout the semester, implementing positive reinforcement and general advice for them. Most of all, though, the boys have learned how to approach becoming young men, lessons they will take further into their lives.
“They’re getting it, because when we started this program, I couldn’t say they would be in this formal line, or be able to recognize that yeah, our guests do need to eat first,” Caldwell said. “It’s something we’ve been implementing on a biweekly basis.”
In fact, the program has been so successful that it will move to Gravelly Hill Middle School next fall, and then CW Stanford for the Spring 2018 semester, and they already have requests to expand the program to exist in all of the schools at once and to include the girls.
To do that, they will need more help and funding, and they are currently looking for grant writers who might be willing to work pro-bono, or anyone who could provide guidance to get more funding, and reach more people.
Anyone willing to volunteer their time or who matches that description for grant assistance, can email Caldwell at email@example.com.