Jaquon: I was on a very dark path. I was doing things that I regret now that I’m older. I was just doing things I shouldn’t have been doing and I ended up getting expelled, making bad decisions all the way up into high school [laughter] still make decisions and then that’s when I got sent to the group home.
[camera pans Jaquon walking into the YWCA eventually shows the speaker]
Joe Lash, Youth Development Coordinator: The IMPACT program here at the YWCA of St. Paul serves young people between the ages of 15 to 24, assisting them in the way of life skills, work readiness and continued education because they’ve dug themselves so deep they don’t see an opportunity out. Jaquon was one of those young people who was deep but he didn’t give up on himself.
Jaquon: I don’t think I would be in the position am today, to where I would be able to say “oh, I’m not in the system anymore. I’m not doing things I shouldn’t be doing without IMPACT and Joe.”
Joe: He did complete our work readiness program. [to Jaquon] “so how’s the job coming?”
Jaquon: “pretty good.”
[Joe and Jaquon’s conversation continues in the background.]
Joe: And now he’s got a job that we had connected him with through our programming
[Jaquon at work]
Jaquon: I work at the YMCA in downtown St. Paul. I work at the front desk greeting people, checking people in, selling memberships. So, I am the first person that the members see when they come in.
Tara Monack, Jaquon’s Supervisor: So far what I know about Jaquon is all the great things I have seen and learned from, him his caring attitude. I’ve told him, I see great things for your future, you have lots of potential to do whatever you want.
[Joe and Jaquon sitting at a table, looking at a laptop]
Joe: Okay, let’s take a look at where you are in this process.
Jaquon: I never finished high school but I am a few classes away from graduating. Joe’s getting me into a program called Gateway to College and basically it’s been a way to get college credits and finish your high school credits at the same time.
[Joe and Jaquon walking outside, talking to each other]
Joe: [to Jaquon] I think you’ll have some great opportunities if you get at least the two-year degree under your belt.
Joe: All I tell them is I’m here to walk with you now. I’m not gonna walk for you but I’ll walk with you. The IMPACT program is here for all young people who choose to invest in themselves. Come work with us and we will show you that you have the abilities within yourself to be successful.
Jaquon: The YWCA is a great place to come. It’s amazing, it can literally change your life