Danica-Thao-ThumbnailWhen I started high school, I was an honor student and a self-described goodie-two-shoes. During my sophomore year I fell in with the wrong crowd, started to rebel, and dropped out. To pass the time I babysat my nieces, became Treasurer of my youth group, and helped my parents with their floral business. I had no goals for the future. My plan was to just keep working hard in what I was already doing. 

I eventually went back to school and received my high school diploma. Last year, I decided to research schools for low-income students and was surprised to find an ad for Year Up at the top of the page. I was skeptical about the promise of getting paid to learn IT with the possibility of getting a job after graduating. It sounded too good to be true. My curiosity got the best of me so I went to the information session. I decided to apply to Year Up not only because of my love for computers, but because the support began the moment I set foot in the door.

At Year Up, I learned the hardware and software aspects of computers and what verbal and nonverbal communication looked and sounded like. The hardest part was learning to speak up. I excel at things within my comfort zone but once I stepped outside of it I saw how much I was lacking in certain areas. With the guidance and encouragement from my instructors and peers, I was able to relax a bit and gain confidence to speak in front of a crowd. One person who guided me through Year Up was my advisor. To this day, she always finds time in her busy schedule to check up on me, whether it’s through email or text. She motivates and encourages me to become a better me.

After my Year Up training, I interned at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) where I answered phones, added and removed hardware, and imaged, deployed, and moved computers from one location to another.I was always doing something.The most important thing I learned as an intern is to ask for help when you need it. The mistake of one person can reflect on the whole team, so if you don’t know something, say something.

I got hired by SCCA as an IT Service Desk Technician. I am excited for my new job and plan to acquire a BA in Computer Science. I’m going to continue to work hard and stay humble while I achieve my goals.

I want to remind urban young adults that we don’t have to be at dead end jobs for the rest of our lives. We can achieve greatness if given the opportunity. I hope that after hearing my story, others will step up to the plate to reach their own dreams and goals.