Jay Vidal, Digital Media Specialist, Interfaith Community Services
After some personal and financial hardships in her family, Esperanza, along with her mother and younger sister, decided to make a fresh start and move to San Diego County where she started as a brand-new student at Carlsbad High School in early 2018. The move was challenging for Esperanza, as she had to leave behind friends, family and all the progress she had made in her previous high school’s nursing program. Her morale, motivation and grades were at an all-time low.
In September 2018, Esperanza made the decision to join the school’s Transitional Youth Academy run by Interfaith Community Services and funded by San Diego Workforce Partnership. The Academy is a competitive and rigorous program that allows Senior Year students to gain offsite workforce experience catered to their career interests while obtaining high school class credits. The program combines academic support with intensive mentoring and career development to increase work readiness with a goal to prepare students for job placement and completion of their high school diploma.
Esperanza first came through the Academy’s doors in need of a computer so that she could complete her homework, which her family was unable to afford. Since her first day, Esperanza has been a committed participant at each Transitional Youth Academy weekly leadership lunches and has demonstrated a razor-sharp focus for achieving her career dreams of becoming a nurse. She has even offered up her own time to help other students in the Academy during finals week who needed help catching up on missing assignments and studying for the final exams. Since joining the Academy she has shown an incredible amount of dedication and focus to improving her grades, self-esteem and motivation.
Being admitted to the Academy was one of Esperanza’s biggest accomplishments this year. She spent countless hours in the Academy’s office working on and editing her application. Her acceptance has given her one more extra resource and opportunity to successfully accomplish her dream of becoming a nurse.
“This program has helped me with a lot of different things - time management, being on top of my assignments, and having someone to be able to check in with has been so helpful. They help me think about strategies I could use or focus on to be more successful. Having an extra support system and resource at school has helped me further my interest in nursing. I would describe the Transitional Youth Academy to someone as a personal counselor, friend, and support system all in one.”
Over the last year, the Transitional Youth Academy has served over 75 students, which has resulted in a high school graduation and college enrollment rate of 100%.
To learn more about Interfaith’s Transitional Youth Academy, visit: https://www.interfaithservices.org/program/employment-economic-development/