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.