Alana reached out to Eckerd Connects for help. With the support and guidance of Career Coach Ms. White, Alana was able to earn her High School Diploma through Penn Foster, a goal she was not sure she would ever achieve.
“Growing up as a child, I was considered a foster kid because I wasn’t raised by my parents. My birth mom was struggling to get her life together and could not raise me or my older brother.
We stayed with our legal guardian, and she is the one I call mom. I love that lady! We did a lot of the things that parents do with their kids and we were a normal family.
My happy family was soon hit with tragedy. My 15-year-old brother died when I was 9 years old, it devastated us. Then 3 years later my guardian (my mom) became sick and passed away. So, at 12 years old, I moved in with my god-parent’s full time.
They did not have legal custody but took care of me until I was 16 years old. After some difficulties, I eventually dropped out of high school in the 12th grade. I’ve been on my own ever since. That is why earning my diploma was so important to me. I do not want to struggle or feel disappointed in myself.”
After earning her diploma, we placed Alana in an internship at a hair salon. Cosmetology is one of her career interests and the owner, Ms. Sharon, is simply amazing. She took Alana under her wing and gave her the support and encouragement she needed to shine.
“As a 22-year-old female, I feel I have struggled more in life than I have ever expected growing up. Dreams did not come true, and my goals were not a success.
There are days I feel like I am a failure and other people might see me as that, but I am not giving up. I am trying my best to make a better life for me and my future family. I still have goals I want to reach, and I decided to get my life together and not let my past define me.”
And shine she did! Not only did Ms. Sharon hire Alana after the internship ended, but she also helped Alana secure a job with a hotel in housekeeping and a job as an overnight residential counselor working with individuals with disabilities. Ms. Sharon is so impressed with Alana, she is teaching her how to run the salon, hoping one day Alana opens a business of her own. Alana’s story is such an encouragement to us all. She struggled, she persevered, she conquered, and she is not even close to finishing.
“I just want to say that no matter how many downfalls you have, always pick yourself up and keep trying. Giving up is not an option, no matter what anyone says. Everything that happens to you will only strengthen you in the long run, and in the end you will only have yourself to keep pushing you through.”
“Thank you so much, Eckerd Connects and CareerSource Research Youth Connections, for changing my path in this life. I will forever be in debt to you all.”
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