19 young adults who never thought they would see this day graduated in front of cheering family and friends as they received their hard-earned high school diplomas on May 17, 2019. Caught in the criminal justice system, these individuals overcame major obstacles to change their lives for the better and can now leverage the power of a high school diploma to find and keep better employment, plan for college, or enroll in other post-secondary skills training opportunities.
Partnering with Penn Foster since 2016 to offer an accredited and licensed high school diploma completion option to young adults across JEVS’s programs, 47 individuals have since earned this door-opening credential. Friends, family and community leaders came together to celebrate this latest group of achievers who could have headed down a very different path, but chose to turn their lives around, making all who know them very proud.
One of the deserving graduates is Joy C., an 18-year-old who after four years in the system—due to truancy, fighting and a stolen car—came home in October 2017. Her 2-year-old niece ran into her arms and that changed everything for Joy. “I wanted to be out in the world for her.”
After surgery last April on her appendix and a month-long stint in the hospital, Joy gave Northeast High School a shot, but after getting suspended on the first day, she knew it wasn’t going to work. She didn’t want to remove her jacket, the principal did, and things erupted from there.
On January 16th of this year, the court recommended she try a different school and she started with JEVS and Penn Foster in March. Earning her necessary 5.5 credits in only 2 months, she has now graduated and intends to go to college for nursing.
“When I first started, this program was such a help.” said Joy. “They help you with work, help you find a job if needed, and Miss Alberta really helps everyone. She is like a mother to every student, and she loves and cares for all of us.”
Alberta Lloyd is JEVS’ life skills/educational enhancement instructor/job readiness trainer and facilitator for Penn Foster for the The Choice is Yours and Opportunity Youth Academy programs, both operated by JEVS.
Joy is amazed at how her life has turned around. “I never thought I’d still be alive. How I am and who my family is…I never thought I’d be here. I honestly thought I’d be dead. It’s happiness being alive.”