2016 YOUTH SUCCESS STORIES
Meet Kimberly Rodriguez - HAWTHORNE
Workforce Challenge: Hawthorne resident, Kimberly Rodriguez, 18, was your typical senior trying to finish her time at Leuzinger High School with strong grades. The third youngest of four children, her older siblings did not go to college. Ms. Rodriguez wanted to be the first in her family to go to college but the financial burden of post-secondary education was daunting.
Workforce Solution: While regularly attending the Hawthorne Teen Center, Ms. Rodriguez learned about the Fit For Gold (FFG) program where high school seniors are trained to provide homework assistance, nutrition information and physical fitness activities to elementary school students in a mentorship capacity. She completed the required 80 hours of training and the subsequent 120 hours of mentorship during the course of her senior year.
Outcome and Benefits: Ms. Rodriguez was one of 35 cadets that completed the program in June coinciding with her graduation from Leuzinger. During the course of her FFG experience, Rodriguez became a recipient of the 2016 Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS), which offers funding to attend any accredited college or university in the United States. Ms. Rodgriguez will attend UC Berkeley as an undergrad (an estimated cost of $150,000) to study Business and Psychology. In addition, if Rodriguez chooses to pursue graduate studies in the fields of Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Library Science, Mathematics, Public Health or Science, she will be eligible for GMS fellowship funding for master’s and doctoral degrees. Rodriguez applied for, and was accepted to a part-time, work-study program at Berkeley while attending school.
“The FFG staff also reviewed my application and helped me with mock interviews when I moved on to the finalists list. Joining the Fit for Gold program helped me become more responsible and inspired me to help those needing motivation and aspirations for a better future. I hope to be a role model for the children that I mentored at Kornblum Elementary School.”
Meet Alejandra Roman - HAWTHORNE
Workforce Challenge: Alejandra Roman is a Hawthorne resident who attended Hawthorne High School. Ms. Roman has demonstrated resilience in the face of personal adversity. At the age of 12, she tragically lost her younger sister
after she was hit by a truck. Soon after that, her father became ill for close to one year. Now the sole breadwinner, her mother sought work to support the family. Nearly one year after her sister’s passing, she almost lost her older brother when he too was hit by a car, hospitalized and then fell into a coma. Her brother, however, made a full recovery. These personal challenges made the prospect of finding employment extremely difficult
Workforce Solution: The SBWIB placed Ms. Roman in the Summer Youth Program where she proved to be a dedicated and enthusiastic young lady, eager to learn. The summer of 2016, she worked for the Events & Marketing Manager at Centinela Valley Union High School District and exhibited a phenomenal work ethic while performing
above expectations on all levels. Through her job as an assistant, she learned excel, data compilation, accounting, Photoshop, event, marketing and public relations support, as well as research and development.
Outcome and Benefits: She participated in several programs and clubs throughout high school and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. Ms. Roman will be attending the University of California, Davis, this fall to study Psychology. The work she has completed during the summer continues to equip her with a skill set that will be invaluable to her in college and her career.
“While personal circumstances could have hindered me, I used them to motivate me to do great things."
Meet Javari Reagan - INGLEWOOD
Workforce Challenge: Javari Reagan graduated from Inglewood High School in June 2016. He was a foster youth living with his sister. His father is deceased and he has little contact with his mother. Mr. Reagan went to the Inglewood One-Stop because he needed to find a job in order to contribute to his household and help his sister with living expenses.
Workforce Solution: Mr. Reagan entered the Bridge-to-Work Foster Youth program at the Inglewood One-Stop in March 2016 and registered for the Blueprint for Workplace Success class. Mr. Reagan indicated that the class was the best he had ever taken and that it helped him prepare for the work environment in ways he had never considered. He stated that the course helped build his confidence in speaking to adults as well as increasing his understanding of what employers expect from new employees.
Outcome and Benefits: Mr. Reagan was placed in a paid-work experience assignment at Fallas, a local clothing business, where he worked for three months. He consistently received high marks on his bi-weekly evaluations by his worksite supervisor, all while finishing his senior year of high school and earning his diploma. Mr. Reagan has since been accepted into the United States Army National Guard and was deployed for a nine-week boot camp in Georgia in mid-July. After boot camp, he will then transfer to Alabama for eight weeks to aviation school.
“Working with the Inglewood One-Stop gave me the confidence to believe in myself despite the barriers in my life. I am hopeful that with the right attitude and skills, the sky is the limit.”