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Video: ‘The Support There is Crazy:’ One Student’s Experience at Year Up Bay Area

There’s this perception, Kris Scott says in the video below, that people are supposed to have certain things by a certain age: a job, a place of your own.

Scott had those things in his home state of Georgia until he had a car accident; with no way to get to work, he eventually lost his job. So he decided to move in with his aunt and uncle in Oakland, a place with more reliable transportation.

“I was sleeping on their couch. It was pretty lonely,” he said. “Nobody really understood. There was nobody I could really relate with.”

He found a job at a gym, but his daily commute—two and a half hours one way—kept him from keeping up with school work. “When I realized I failed my classes, I just stood there for a minute and thought, ‘What’s next? Now what am I going to do?’ I just messed everything up.”

 

Fortunately, Scott applied and was accepted to Year Up Bay Area, a program that trains low-income youth without college degrees for high-paying jobs in the technology, healthcare, and financial services sectors.

While the program taught Scott valuable skills like IT Fundamentals and Business Communications, he also discovered what it was like to feel supported. “The support there is crazy. I mean, I felt it before. But not like that, and not from people that I did not know.”

Through Year Up, Scott eventually found work at KIPP Bay Area Schools as a technology coordinator; he aslo got a new outlook on life. “I’m tired of saying ‘would’ve’ and ‘maybe.’” he said. “I’m ready to just get things done.”

America’s Promise followed up with Scott a few months after this video was filmed, and he said that he left his job at KIPP to look for a technical environment in which he can support users face-to-face.

“I’m looking for a company that will expand my technical knowledge and enable me to provide the service I have a passion for providing,” he said. “I’m on a mission of what some may call cultural brokering…to show that others with my background are not only willing to compete, but can be very competitive with the best in the business.”

For more stories like this one, check out After Years of Loss, One Bronx Resident Finds Hope and After Struggling with SAT, One Woman Proves She is ‘More than Just a Test Score.’

To find out more about the role that relationships play in preparing young people for the workforce, read the Center for Promise report, Turning Points: How Young People in Four Career Pathways Programs Describe the Relationships that Shape Their Lives.