Before YouthBuild, Jade was overwhelmed by the structure of her high school. “I didn’t want to resume my education there because I struggled in a traditional high school environment. On the second day of my sophmore year, I didn’t even want to leave my car. I was paralyzed with fear… I was very doubtful I would finish my high school education because I didn’t think I could go through the same struggles again.” That’s when Jade’s mother introduced her to YouthBuild Lake County. After attending an informational, Jade agreed to attend YBLC.
Jade recounted her first day at YBLC, saying, “In the beginning, I had my doubts. I didn’t think I would get anything from YouthBuild. I just thought it would be like any other program. I was actually planning on not attending after the first day, but the staff talked to me and calmed me down and helped me push through the next few days. That’s when I knew the program was different. I felt like there was a genuine concern and care for the youth.”
Jade continued to push herself during her time at YouthBuild and was elected as a Youth Policy Council member by her peers. Jade said, “I never dreamed I would do anything like that. I was scared but when I heard my name that I was elected to the YPC, I was mind blown. That was life changing.”
The more Jade believed in herself, the more she accomplished. Jade received the emotional support and the stability that she needed as she earned her diploma. Jade graduated with honors from YBLC in July 2022.
Two years ago, Jade thought her education was over. Today, she is enrolled at the College of Lake County. Ultimately, she hopes to earn a bachelor’s in English. “I can’t even put into words how much YouthBuild has changed my perspective. I was in a very negative headspace in my life and attending YouthBuild gave me a sense of hope of having a future I would be happy and proud to have.”