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Success Stories


"You gave me an opportunity that changed my life"

I dropped out of high school after my freshman year; I was never excited or motivated to attend school.  My family and I had lost our home that year and from there we all went our separate ways—brother and sister got their own place and live wealthy lives to this day.  My mother started hanging out with the wrong people and soon got herself into drugs and still chooses to keep that path going, which was hard for me.  Especially just turning 16, trying to figure out where or who I could live with or just sleep for a night.  I soon began to put myself in situations I knew were wrong and regret what I put myself through.  My decisions affected my life in so many ways.  I was heading down the road my mother chose for herself.

After meeting my boyfriend Stephen and dating for about 8 months we knew the life we were living shouldn’t be the way it was, and wanted a way out.  We had to decide what we really wanted in our lives and future.  It was a hard decision mainly because I was stuck in a habit and situation that was hard to keep away from.  February 9th 2012, Stephen and I moved to Spokane; his family lives here and we had nowhere else to live.  Everyone has always looked down on me when it comes to my education, especially when I dropped out of high school.  So my number one goal was to prove them wrong and also prove to myself that I could do it if I really want to.  The best thing for me was to get my GED since high school was a problem.

I soon started exploring Spokane and stopped at WorkSource to see about some jobs.  I saw the Next Generation Zone on the display board and asked a lady to help me find out what I needed to do.  She directed me to the Next Generation Zone office and I filled out an application; after taking two classes I got connected with Jessica Cato, I couldn’t ask for anyone better.  Enrolling in the GED classroom was difficult.  My high school principal and I were never on good terms and made it hard to get my release form.  After he sent the form I thought “Finally, I get to start class!”  Jessica and I went to the classroom and come to find out I didn’t have a state ID to register.  It was a process to get everything going, but I didn’t want to give up like I did in my past.

Getting started in class and studying hard to pass my tests was a challenge but with the help from the Next Generation Zone, Jessica, and my GED teacher it became something I looked forward to every day.  After receiving my GED in August 2012 my goal was to attend college and study for dental assisting.  I chose this program because I have always loved taking care of my teeth and made it a priority to maintain my routine because I love to smile, even when times are hard.  Starting college was also difficult because I needed my mom’s tax return to file for federal financial aid.  Of course I had to somehow get my mother to send it to me, she’s one hard person to track down but after awhile I managed to get it.  Now I am attending college at Spokane Community College and I honestly love it!  My classes are going great.  In English I have a 4.0 which I never thought would be possible.

My future goals are to finish college with a degree or certificate in dental assisting and one day have the life I want for myself and my family I one day will have.  It’s so hard for anyone to push themselves in the right direction.  Finding someone to help you and is actually willing to understand what you want is not easy.  The Next Generation Zone, Jessica, and everyone else who helped and believed in me gave me an opportunity that changed my life in less than a year.  I thank them for everything.  Especially Jessica, she practically held my hand and told me she wouldn’t let go until I achieved my goals and that means everything to me.  Thank you!