Monique’s Story

Monique Rivera: YouthBuild Student

I started the YouthBuild program in July and in these past five months, my life has changed for the better. Before I joined this program I was lost, I didn’t know what to do after dropping out of high school in 2013. Applying for jobs was always hard because I did not have a high school diploma or GED. I tried studying for my GED to take the test but I couldn’t motivate myself to do it on my own and I could not afford to pay for each individual test. After a few years, I stopped looking for a better job and I stopped trying to better myself; I felt there was nothing for me.

In the beginning of this year, I ran into an old friend who is also a former student of YouthBuild. She told me about the program and what they offered so I signed up and decided to give it a try. Within the first few weeks of being in the program, I learned a lot of new skills that will benefit me for new job opportunities. I’ve had the chance to obtain my OSHA-10, MC3, DCW Certificate, and CPR training. I’ve gained more than just working skills from being in the YouthBuild program. I’ve learned to properly write a resume and how to be professional when being interviewed by an employer. While learning learning all of this and more, I was able to be out serving my community from doing projects like renovating bathroom floors in Oakbrook Homes, helping a local store with community service projects, to reading books to children in elementary schools. I learned how to work as a team and that is always more that you can do for yourself and to never settle.

Face painting at a community fair

Being in YouthBuild I’ve gained confidence in myself. Now when I fill out a job application and I get to the section that ask me to check off whether I have a high school diploma or GED, I will beĀ able to check it off and have feelings of accomplishment. Thanks to the staff and students at YouthBuild not only did they help me get closer to obtaining my GED, the staff and teachers also prepared me for the real world and what to expect. I was taught the values of being respectful and responsible for myself and others, and to always aim to be excellent. Thanks to the YouthBuild program I have a clear view of where and who I want to be in the future. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for help taking the next step or the first step.