First ever GTO graduation in the New River Valley

Local News

A crowded room full of uniformed officers and families all here to support three individuals.

“I want to work with kids with intellectual disabilities,” said Erica Bookout, a cadet graduate.

Erica is just one of the Growth Through Opportunity cadets in the first graduating class for the New River Valley.

“Just the start of many things to come in the future,” said Travis Akins, CEO Growth Through Opportunity program.

Travis Akins started the program in the Roanoke two years ago.

Law enforcement officials help adults with unique challenges find a job.

“Learn skills about resumes and transportation and how to budget money,” said Erica Bookout, a cadet graduate.

“There’s a safety component to that. There’s a component where we are teaching life skills, job skills, social skills, that are so needed to thrive in this world and also to do that while partnering them with their local uniformed officers is quite the experience,” said Travis Akins, CEO Growth Through Opportunity program.

An experience he and the graduates hope will last for years to come in the New River Valley and beyond.

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