DSC_5845 -GT2Before Year Up, I knew I was capable of being successful, but I lacked the guidance and support to work through the challenges I faced along the way. When I was a junior in high school, my mother suffered a stroke. This caused her speech to no longer be normal and she couldn’t walk. Though it was extremely hard, I had to watch my mother become sicker as the days went by. Since then my life has been completely different. My mom was and still is the love of my life and knowing that she will never be the same is heartbreaking. 

The decision was tough, but after high school I started college at Florida International University to distance myself from everything going on back home. In the beginning I earned good grades and attended all of my classes, but soon I lost focus. I was so stressed out with all my family drama and partying was the only outlet I had. I wasn’t doing my best, so I made the decision to go back home and continue my education there. That’s when my middle school counselor told me about Year Up.

At Year Up, I learned how to be an all-around professional. I learned how to speak up in class and how to give excellent feedback by using Year Up’s feedback guidelines. The most important thing I learned was how to dress professionally, in a way that was consistent with both my personality and the brand that I wanted to build for myself. I also learned how to write a perfect email. I know how to make sure my tone is appropriate and how to begin and end my email with a respectable greeting and closing. I loved the lessons we had on writing emails because it was the number one thing I took to my internship. Overall, I learned how to find my voice, which is something most young adults haven’t done.

I interned at Center for American Progress (CAP) as a Desktop Support Technician. I took the lead on many projects during my internship. I was in charge of re-imaging, inventory, all second monitor and laptop requests, and asset management. I also tackled projects for the VP of Technology and the Director of IT. I loved every minute of my internship and I was so excited when CAP offered me a job.

I have a bright future. My hours at CAP will allow me to attend school as well, and I plan on continuing my education in the IT world. I am confident I will find a way.

My role in the Opportunity Movement started with me taking the opportunity. Now my role is spreading the word and setting an example that the Year Up program does work by continuing to remain humble and professional.

Last, I want others to understand that there’s so much more than financial difficulty that lies beneath our stories and mine is an example of just that. Every young adult who enters the program isn’t struggling with money. Most of us are searching for that chance that will change our lives. Year Up accepts, understands, and supports the fact that young adults need the opportunity to voice and overcome our experiences. Furthermore, I’m happy to declare who I am and to be a part of such a significant movement.