School never interested Michael Flanagan.

“I never put my mind to anything,” he said. “I wanted to make money.”

Flanagan dropped out during his freshman year of Kensington Culinary Arts High, then spent a decade working jobs that allowed him to scrape out a living–roofing, clerking at a convenience store under the El, cooking at a Pizza Hut near his home in Fishtown.

He also began selling marijuana, and in February, got caught. Flanagan, 24, spent a night in jail on a felony drug charge.

Then, he was offered a lifeline: instead of prison, enroll in The Choice is Yours, a diversion program for first-time, nonviolent felony drug offenders operated by nonprofit JEVS Human Services with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Municipal Court, and the Defender Association of Philadelphia.

But there was more: On September 22, 2016, JEVS program staff and TCY participants celebrated five high school graduations! Through a diploma completion program, in which JEVS has partnered with education provider Penn Foster, Flanagan and four of his classmates received the sought-after academic credential they had worked so hard for.

I always expected things to be handed to me on a silver platter; I had an entitlement attitude. Now I put my family first.” – Michael Flanagan, TCY Graduate, Diploma-Holder and Class Valedictorian

To watch a video of this wonderful transition to success, click here. To learn more about TCY and how the partnership with Penn Foster Education helps participants earn their high school diploma, read more in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Or, view the Facebook photo gallery of the graduation online.

Posted in JEVS In The News JEVS Program: The Choice is Yours