Based on statistics alone, it would be easy to dismiss some students as a lost cause. According to Alan, “I was on track to be in jail… or possibly dead. There wasn’t a future for me after I turned 18.” After getting involved with a gang, Alan’s educational progress plummeted. He was expelled from two different schools, and his parents were running out of hope that he’d turn his life around.

“That’s when my mom heard about Learn4Life. She begged me just to try it, so I did.” Little by little, Alan’s teachers and tutors focused on growing his confidence, and connecting with him on common ground. “My supervising teacher explained that there’s the dangerous kind of hustling that happens on the street, and then there’s the legal kind of hustling, the sales kind that happens in corporate boardrooms. That made a lot of sense to me. I realized I could keep the skills I learned on the street, but use them to have a better life.”

The Courage to Lead

When Alan’s teachers sensed that he was ready to make a change, they supported him as he left the gang. “I thought I could succeed in school and stay in the gang, but my teachers helped me to see how that would affect my future.” With the negative influence out of the way, Alan was freed up to think about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. “Suddenly, I started to think I can do this. I can make something of my life.”

With a little goal-setting help from his teachers, Alan found the career of his dreams: firefighting. “It’s got all of the excitement I was craving, but now I can feel proud that I’m making the world better.” Alan graduated from Learn4Life, received his EMT certification and is currently studying fire technology in college. In his free time, he volunteers at a rehab center for troubled teens.