Six years ago I came into the SE Works Youth Center crying for help. I was 16 I had no hope of doing anything with my life other than following suit of my parents. I had dropped out of high school to help raise my younger siblings during the height of my mother’s meth addiction, just as well there was no escape offered from my father as he was also a drug addict and the house that we lived in was riddled with syringes and filth.
I had taken a leave from school and was residing with various friends as much as possible when I was referred to the Youth Center by a friend that had previously gone through the program. The Youth Center staff helped me get my GED, helped me find a job and got me on track to get into college. The staff helped me get my own apartment so that I could move out of the crack house that I had previously been living in with my dad.
This year I graduated from PCC with my Associate’s Degree in Science and I am now enrolled at Portland State University. I am now a college senior, and I am studying for my Bachelors in Psychology. I am only a few years away from an amazing career as a counselor for troubled youth.
About 6 years ago, I had given a speech at the SE Works Auction about how the Youth Program had made a positive influence on my life. I told the story about how I went from a high school dropout desperately looking for a job to a full-time student at a community college with a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant – a difficult transition I would never had made if it weren’t for the SE Works Youth Program helping me with the struggle.
Since then, things have changed for the better. I received my GED from SE Works, graduated Portland State where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a psychology and sociology double major and a philosophy minor – and with a Master’s degree in psychology- my proudest accomplishment. I’m also currently working a full time job as a consultant at a major wireless carrier.
When reflecting on my past and comparing and contrasting it with the present, it’s hard to believe where I came from and where I am today. I can truly say with complete honesty that I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for this program. SE Works provided me guidance and tools for how to navigate the professional and academic world successfully. They also inspired confidence in myself and taught me my goals are achievable.