When Askari came to Project Bridge in December 2020, he was a 20-year-old youth seeking to complete his GED. He did not have any family stability and was living in a group home.
Askari was abandoned by his biological mother at an early age and placed in foster care. His difficult upbringing led to Askari getting into trouble with juvenile justice and being referred to Project Bridge.
Beginning of Change
When Askari arrived at Project Bridge, his initial assessment showed that he was operating at an 8th grade level in both reading and math. By spring, he asked how he could complete the program quicker and was informed that it was a self-paced process. It would require his full commitment to finish.
Obtaining a GED was always on his mind, but Askari often prioritized work over education. His attendance was inconsistent due to his work schedule, and being homeless was wearing on him. While Askari has been able to secure and maintain employment for over seven months and diligently saves his money to be able to afford his own apartment, he is still struggling to produce enough money for the down payment.
Enough is Enough
In August 2021, Askari’s housing crisis motivated him to prioritize his education. He began to take his GED practice tests – which he had previously resisted taking – and was pleasantly surprised with how well he did on them; Askari was gaining momentum!
In the last two weeks of August, he requested multiple study sessions a week lasting several hours. While he never abandoned his education, once he made it a priority, he quickly learned what he needed, and passed all his GED tests on the first attempt.
Askari has enrolled in the Postsecondary Education Services and Support (PESS) Program since graduating with his GED, and has advocated for himself to be able to obtain support so he could enroll in higher education.
In October 2021, Askari entered Indian River State College as a student of the HVAC program and is excited to work toward a career that will provide him self-sufficiency following his graduation. Askari also enrolled in the Project Bridge Elite 60 program in February and has been the longest-tenured youth thus far, continuing the program on a voluntary basis because he simply “wants to learn more about leadership and entrepreneurship.”
Askari was granted a Success Award to provide him with the laptop needed to complete his HVAC program and school attire to ensure he begins with his best foot forward as he actively continues working toward his own growth, development, and personal success.
Success Awards are an initiative of Eckerd Connects in which deserving participants are awarded financial grants to help them further succeed after they leave the program.
Help connect young people, like Askari, towards their potential by giving towards the programs and services offered by Eckerd Connects.