The more youngsters move around from school to school, the more likely they are to drop out. They have no continuity in their classes and as they bounce from school to school, they feel more isolated and often are a target for bullies.

As a young child, Jordan remembers being happy and optimistic with a big heart. But then her family environment became increasingly challenging. Her mom was in prison before Jordan was born and made bad choices for her family most of Jordan’s life. They moved around a lot and Jordan was homeless for a time. At one point, her mom took her to California and left her with one of her sisters for eight months. The sister made Jordan take care of her children and keep house, so she had to drop out that school year. She was traumatized by her stepfather and was be involved in his court case, adding to her trauma.​

“In high school I was distracted, and I had no motivation for school,” Jordan explained. “I was always the new kid…and being tall, I was always bullied. Schools were not safe, and the system makes you lose hope.”

She is grateful that she heard about Learn4Life, starting at PV Jobs and transferring to Inglewood when she moved once again. Jordan recalls making progress from her first day at Learn4Life. Her teachers told her that she was going to get a high school diploma and there were a lot of people who would help her do that. “Here teachers don’t just pass you, they are interested in your learning. Dropping out was no longer an option.”

Learn4Life’s trauma-informed model has been vitally important to Jordan. She feels her reactions and self-control have improved. Tutoring and small group instruction have fit her learning style, and she has flourished in leadership programs like EmpowHER. She enjoyed experiential trips to Colorado and Washington and participates in school tours for visiting VIPs. “Participating motivates me. It gives me purpose and helps me overcome the many obstacles I have in my life.”

Flexibility was key in making sure Jordan continued to come to school. She helps take care of a baby cousin with Downs syndrome and needs to work a few hours each week. She is learning how to schedule her time and prioritize all the things she needs to do.

Jordan is so appreciative of her teachers, tutors and principal who had a powerful impact on her. “They guide me thru life and tell me the raw truth. I can feel the care and genuine concern.” One of her female teachers became a surrogate mother and another mentored her on becoming a woman. “This is like a second home. Comfort and convenience. I am progressing and learning. It feeds my motivation to come here. I know I have a diploma waiting for me.”

She is currently taking dual enrollment classes at West LA College. After graduation she wants to major in psychology and child development. Jordan is proud of who she is becoming. She recognizes that her growth has been real. “I look at my past self and mindset and now it is completely different. If I had not found Learn4Life, I would probably be in a casket or somewhere as a teen mom. I have seen and experienced things children should not be exposed to. I would have already given up on myself.”​

Written By:
Ann Abajian
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