25 Feb Skills for a bright future

When Edgar* was 17, he was placed at the YOC after running away from home. Raised in an impoverished home with a great deal of adversity, including several moves throughout his young life, he grew up having no real concept of money or what it was like to have a stable, bright, future. 

At the YOC, Edgar was introduced to the Academic and Life Skills team. This team works with youth placed at the YOC to assess and address interests and goals kids have and help them work towards achieving those goals and charting a path to a better, brighter, future. When Edgar begin working with the Life Skills team, he expressed his dreams of working in music production and also becoming a veterinarian. With the team’s help, Edgar researched what he needed to do to be successful in achieving these goals: identifying specific colleges that offered both academic programs and, ultimately, applying to many of them. 

“Supporting residents like Edgar in their treatment, ambitions and life goals is what the Academic and Life Skills team is driven to do every day,” said Sonya Willis, YOC Academic and Life Skills Coordinator. “We walk alongside them in support as the resident works in the pursuit of their goals, helping them through the stumbling blocks.” 

When he arrived at the YOC, Edgar was no stranger to excelling despite adversity. At the time of his placement, he boasted a 3.7 GPA from his previous school and possessed enough credits to surpass the requirements of a high school senior. In fact, he needed only three additional credits in order to graduate. In addition to achieving those credits, during his six months at the YOC, Edgar applied for his 21st Century Scholarship and completed the requirements for the program including: learning more about post-secondary education, completing three goals per academic year, and learning more about chosen career paths.

While at the YOC, Edgar also took his SAT and scored well beyond a high-average level, thereby meeting the admission standards for many university programs. He also maintained a 4.0 GPA during his time at the YOC, allowing him to apply for, and receive, multiple academic scholarships. Edgar was discharged from the YOC in December 2020, transitioning to an Independent Living program, which positions him well to take the next step in achieving his dreams.

At the YOC, success is defined in many different ways. That’s why every aspect of a resident’s treatment program is so crucial. For some, success is defined by overcoming significant trauma and achieving mental and emotional healing. For others, success is defined by accomplishing goals that previous life experience has prevented. For Edgar, his time at the YOC – and specifically his experience working with the Academic and Life Skills team – set him up for the very real possibility of achieving dreams he never thought possible. 

“I am beyond proud of the work that Edgar has accomplished,” Willis said. “I’m excited for what the future holds for him. He is motivated, determined, bright, and is destined to offer the world something special.”    

*Names have been removed to protect the identity of the resident.

This story is adapted from the Winter/Spring 2021 YOC Foundations newsletter.