E3 provides education, employment, and empowerment services for out-of-school youth and young adults in Philadelphia. With 46 program completions so far this year, E3 Director, Jamaine Jackson reflects on recent successes of program participants.
Jiana came to JEVS E3 at the age of 17 and ended up becoming our E3 superstar. As someone who moved around a lot, she kept having to start at the beginning of earning credits toward her high school diploma. Due to her transitions, Jiana decided to pursue her GED instead of going through traditional schooling. Everything was going smoothly for Jiana until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Unfortunately, programming shifted into shut down with the city and all classes were forced to distant learning instead of in-person instruction. This process was new to the program and a shock to the participants. Nevertheless, Jiana didn’t allow this adversity to discourage her progression.
During the Pandemic, Jiana continued to pursue her GED and also took the role of an internship within our program during a Paid Work Experience (PWE) position to become a North Star Digital Literacy Proctor and a Youth Navigator for JEVS E3 Services. Jiana continued to empower herself by obtaining 25 additional certifications utilizing her own research of Digital Literacy trainings while earning and learning to pay for her GED exams independently with her PWE money earned to accommodate taking her exams at home. Jiana’s determination and dedication towards her education qualified her to earn her free college credits after successfully passing her GED exams.
As a graduate, Jiana was also a great asset to the programming by assisting other members of JEVS’ E3 Services during the pandemic as a Peer Mentor/Ambassador. Subsequently, her leadership qualities and experience in the program, led her to create an E3 Newsletter called “Our Voices” for her peers to be recognized for their achievements and provide a platform for young people’s voices to be heard. Jiana was the Executive Editor and delegated new roles and opportunities for other E3 members to participate. Jiana is currently working at a large international company as a Bilingual Customer Service Representative. Her initial goal was to pursue a career in acting – her next step is taking acting classes while working on her admissions to NYU as her dream is to work with Tyler Perry.
Chris came to JEVS’ E3 Services in early July to obtain his high school diploma. He just made the deadline due to our program eligibility requirements and his tenure at previous facilities. Early on, Chris felt devalued by the Philadelphia School District, and even by other educational programs. He didn’t believe he received the attention needed to develop the skills to obtain his diploma nor did he gain access to the support and resources to help him complete his goals. JEVS’ E3 Services was able to provide the guidance to support his reading difficulties and connect him to resources such as our partner program, the Center for Literacy, to assist. Chris would receive tutoring four days a week to work on skills building for reading and math. Then after a few months, he was ready to make significant strides towards obtaining his high school diploma.
He began Penn Foster High School, an online accelerated curriculum program with blended learning programs is a self-paced and accessible to bring education that builds career growth and confidence with flexibility. With the challenges and barriers, he faced in the educational system, JEVS provided Chris an opportunity to enroll into this program for free. Even though it had been years since Chris was enrolled in high school, Penn Foster still accepted the credits from his previous schooling, and he was able to be empowered to push through any adversities with the support of our staff. Chris also worked diligently for two months, utilizing the skills he had developed during our programming, and completed his course work on Christmas Day. Chris’ next steps, as a graduate, are to pursue a career within the automotive technology industry while E3 is providing the essential tools to succeed in his chosen career pathway.