Today, young men from across the city graduated from the Boston Public Health Commission’s Men’s HealthCREW program with new job skills and experience, education in the field of health care, and a strong sense of the importance of giving back to their community.

John Fabrice Dorsanvil of Hyde Park, Innocent Emebo of Mattapan, Jerome Johnson of Roxbury, Dominique Lewis of Dorchester, Sherron Scott of Dorchester, and Jameil Williams, also of Dorchester, received certificates in a small ceremony attended by friends, family, and Commission employees. The graduation was initially scheduled for April 19, but was postponed due to the Marathon tragedy.

Wilbur Smart, Project Manager for the Men's Health CREW, speaks to graduates and their guests at today's ceremony.

Wilbur Smart, Project Manager for the Men’s Health CREW, speaks to graduates and their guests at today’s ceremony.

“These young men have learned about the importance of taking care of themselves and their communities, and I couldn’t be more proud of their achievements today,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “Their hard work and dedication to their health, their communities, and their future makes them fantastic role models and ambassadors. I know they will continue to contribute to public health in Boston as they pursue future challenges and opportunities.”

The HealthCREW, which stands for Health Community Resources for Empowerment and Wellness, is a 12-month career training program for men of color. It aims to address health inequities among African American and Latino males by empowering them to take control of their own health and wellness. Participants learn how to access preventive care and other health services, advocate for their own health needs, provide health education to peers in their communities, and perform CPR.

“These men come from various backgrounds and life experiences, and all have overcome a number of pitfalls and obstacles to reach this point. They had their minds set on a goal to start down a path to better themselves, and they continue to succeed,” said Wilbur Smart, project manager for the HealthCREW Program, “The CREW has come to understand that they must be active participants in the change they want to see in their communities. They are no longer men out for their own advancement, but are adamant about pointing others in the right direction, both in word and deed. Some have already started sharing what they have learned with others and also referring other young men to the program.”

The program, which serves men between the ages of 18 and 25, consists of a six-month training component followed by a six-month internship in a public health, community, or hospital setting. CREW participants are paid a weekly stipend during the training and in their internships.

Friends and family celebrate the graduates.

Friends and family celebrate the graduates.