My story is not your normal educational story, it started when I dropped out of high school many years ago. I was "living my best life," as any young teen would say; drugs, alcohol and the desire to fit in were my priority. Without realizing it, I really didn't have much to look forward to when it came to education. I found myself working, thinking it was all I needed until life hit me hard and I hit rock bottom far deeper then I imagined. Being caught by the law, walking away from my job, and not knowing what to do next was terrifying. Seeing my life crash before me helped me realize I was neglecting the things that mattered — family, school, and caring for myself being the number one factor. It was then that I made the choice to go back and try again. After many months I was introduced to Year Up by a wonderful former recruiter. It was tough to decide what to do, but realizing I was 24 years old already, I went for it! It was rough, as life would continue to challenge my strength to keep going and I considered quitting often.
However, I stuck with it and was selected as an intern with Bank of America in the Fraud Department. At the close of my internship, YUPRO provided an even bigger opportunity. I was introduced to Amber Bartz who helped me in taking my next step toward my career. She assisted by setting me up for an interview at Bank of the West, while giving extra resources and advice along the way. Now I am a proud employee with Bank of the West as an SME Admin Loan Processor. Year Up and YUPRO impacted my life so much! Without these programs I wouldn't be able to share my story for others who are in the shoes I was in, hoping for a second shot at life. If I can hit the bottom more times than I can count and still make it to the top, so can others. A little positivity is all you need because the programs will do the rest and before you can blink, your life can and will be another motivational story of success and empowerment for young adults who dream of a better life.