Completing the GED!
When Yolanda Martin found out she was pregnant as a sophomore in high school, she knew she had to do whatever it took to take care of her child. At the time, that meant dropping out of high school. Ten years and three children later, she attended a meeting at the Grier Park Apartments to learn about taking classes to help her get her GED. When she found out this class would be offered at the complex and at no cost, she knew it was time to take a chance.
Yolanda previously had made excuses as to why she could not go back to school. “I had no excuse not to go to class when it was right across the street. They held class during convenient hours, three times a week and it made childcare easier.” She says having the class in her apartment complex was instrumental in her success. Many people who live in Yolanda’s apartment complex have not graduated from high school, so to have people who really care come in to help, made a world of difference to her.
“I knew that until I got my education, I could not provide a better life for my children. I don’t need to be rich but I want to be able to give them a more comfortable, safe life than I had. My children are my motivation,” explains Yolanda. Yolanda was labeled a “gifted” child and therefore everyone just assumed she was smart and so they didn’t need to push her in her education. “But I was still just a child and children can make stupid decisions,” explains Yolanda. “I refuse to let my children make the same mistakes I did, so I need to lead by example.”
Yolanda’s dedication to her future was demonstrated in May 2010 when she walked across the stage at graduation. “Completing my GED just made me feel so proud. I finally got to give my mother the moment I robbed her of years ago. That felt great,” said Yolanda. She knew people would be proud of her but she did not realize how many people would be there to show their support for her. “It just feels like so much more is possible now that I have my GED,” says Yolanda.
“Before, people would meet me and just assume I had graduated. When I told them that I hadn’t, I could see their faces drop. It made me feel so bad, as if I had let them down. I don’t feel like that anymore,” she says. Yolanda had to stop comparing herself to people her age and just work on herself. Once she was able to do that, doors seemed to open up right and left.
So, what’s next for Yolanda? On August 30, she will begin a 10-month program at King's College in Medical Assisting. She then plans to attend CPCC to obtain her degree in Cardiovascular Technology. “I feel like I can picture it now that I have the GED. It makes everything more obtainable,” she says.
Congratulations, Yolanda! You did it and your future is waiting for you!