Atlanta Regional Workforce Area Outstanding Youth

Mr. S was referred to the Cherokee Youth FOCUS (CYF) program by a fellow participant in 11/03 and was enrolled as an 11th grader. During his enrollment with CYF, he attended several field trips, individual work readiness training opportunities, and participated in a successful subsidized work experience. At this time, Mr. S was in a homeless/transient living situation, staying with various friends. Despite not knowing where he’d sleep each night, nor get his next meal, he rarely missed a day of school and was able to maintain a “B” average. His confidence level, however, was low - as evidenced by poor eye contact and many negative comments he shared about his perceived ability to succeed in life. Services were directed at ensuring that Mr. S continued to attend school regularly and that he continued to progress in his classes. In 10/04, he moved with friends and left the program, but he came back to CYF a short time later. While moving from place to place and not living in a steady, stable environment has been the biggest challenge for Mr. S, in a way it may have actually helped him realize that only he could make his goals become a reality. When Mr. S came back he was a senior, but he was still in a transient living situation and considering dropping out to work. CYF developed a short-term subsidized work experience for Mr. S at The UPS Store near where he was residing at the time, and he was allowed to leave school early to work. Since he did not have a car or other transportation, CYF worked with the local transportation service to pick him up from school and take him to work. Once again, Mr. S became pessimistic because although the fee was minimal, he did not have any money to pay for this. Additionally, due to his shyness, he was intimidated at having to call the provider directly and make the actual arrangements. CYF made the first week’s arrangements and paid for the fee for the first week – and Mr. S quickly overcame his shyness and was able to make the necessary arrangements for his transportation throughout the duration of his work experience. This may be a small accomplishment for some, but it was a huge one for him!! At the end of his work experience, Mr. S was offered an unsubsidized position with The UPS Store earning $3.00 more an hour. He maintained his employment through his graduation and throughout the following summer. Mr. S had an opportunity to move into an apartment of his own far from his current job. With the encouragement of CYF, he did not just quit his job, but stayed with it until he found other employment at Wal-Mart and then gave an official two-week notice to his manager at The UPS Store. Although Mr. S’s road has been a bumpy one and he was discouraged at times, his commitment to make a better life for himself was never compromised. Once someone started to believe in him and his potential for success, he started believing more in himself and strived harder to meet his goals. Mr. S changed from a shy and timid high school student into a confident, self-sufficient young man. He recently received the Outstanding Employee Award from CYF, and the Outstanding Youth Award at the Atlanta Regional Workforce Area’s Annual Awards Program. Mr. S recently met with an Army Recruiter to take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Test (ASVAB) test and to complete his physical assessment. While he missed passing the ASVAB by two points, his physical assessment was positive. He is scheduled to retake the ASVAB and if he passes he will be able to officially enlist in the Army with hopes to train in computer network security. For additional information, please contact: Atlanta Regional Workforce Area (404) 463-3326, or 1-800-516-5872 Toll Free

December 1, 2005