Empowering Youth: Jocelyn’s Journey with YEP

Safer Foundation Quad Cities’ Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) is a life skills program that, in addition to teaching valuable life and career skills, provides educational instruction to assist young people (typically, 16-18 but up to 24 years of age) who have struggled in traditional school, affording them the opportunity to prepare to pass and obtain their high school equivalency diploma (HSED).

The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP)

Six class sessions are held throughout the course of the year, each consisting of 32 in-class days. Upon intake, expectations are discussed, along with the importance of regular attendance. Investing in school success for youth impacted by the criminal legal system has the potential to reduce disciplinary issues and reverse the school-to-prison pipeline. Providing educational programs and career training reduces recidivism and crime by developing skills and providing opportunities for disenfranchised young people.

Jocelyn’s Story

Among the many success stories emerging from YEP, Jocelyn’s journey stands out as a testament to resilience, determination, and personal growth. At just 16 years old, Jocelyn entered the program with a background familiar to many of her peers: hailing from a low-income family grappling with substance abuse issues and referred by Scott County Juvenile Court Services.

Despite her circumstances, Jocelyn approached her time in YEP with determination. She wasted no time in setting ambitious goals for herself, driven by a desire to break free from the cycle of adversity. Alongside her studies, Jocelyn also took on a part-time job, showcasing her strong work ethic and commitment to her future.

Jocelyn’s academic ambition was evident as she swiftly completed her HSED with an impressive, score of 81, well above the required threshold of 45. However, her journey didn’t end there. Fueled by a passion for healthcare, Jocelyn set her sights on becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). She wasted no time, enrolling in CNA courses while continuing to work towards her goals.

On January 4th, Jocelyn received the news she had been eagerly awaiting, as she had passed her CNA state exams. This milestone marked not only a professional achievement but also a profound personal transformation. Throughout her time in YEP, Jocelyn blossomed into a confident, capable young woman, shedding doubts about her abilities and embracing the boundless potential within her.

In her own words, Jocelyn reflects on her transformative journey with Safer Foundation: “Safer Foundation has taught me so many things and has provided me with many opportunities. Not only did Safer help me with my education and job status, but I also had fun, made new friends, and really enjoyed coming every day.”

Empowering Futures, One Youth at a Time

Jocelyn’s story serves as a reminder of the impact that dedicated support and mentorship can have on the lives of young individuals facing adversity. Through programs like YEP, organizations like Safer Foundation are not only equipping youth with the tools they need to succeed academically and professionally but also instilling in them a sense of confidence, resilience, and hope for the future. Together, we can continue to uplift and inspire the next generation, ensuring that every youth has the opportunity to thrive and realize their fullest potential.