Operation Graduation 2011 Essay: Ashley Miller (Downers Grove, Ill.)

Date: August 7, 2011

Out of 1000 black teenage girls, 134 will become pregnant and only 34% will go on to finish high school or get a GED.

I was determined not to fall into yet another statistics category. I didn’t finish my junior year and going to school for six to seven hours a day seemed impossible to me.

I was now part of the 134 black teens to become pregnant.

Although I knew I would have the support from family, I didn’t know what my future would hold. I wasn’t working after I had my daughter, Gabrielle, and was depressed all the time.

I saw my dreams and hope all crash and burn right before my eyes. I was lost and confused. I felt like I didn’t know myself anymore. It wasn’t sweet like I thought it would be.

It came to me in an epiphany that I had to make a plan of action. I started by going up to my former high school, Hinsdale Central. I set up an appointment with my counselor to talk about my options.

That’s when my friend, Sam, and his mom told me about Ombudsman. They said it was only for three hours a day and I would earn a diploma.

Ombudsman has helped me to get on track with life. I feel like there is hope now and I can achieve all of my goals with hard work and determination.

The teachers gave that one on one help when needed. My work is done at a pace where I can keep up.

The biggest plus about Ombudsman for me though, was the no homework because two to three hours of homework would have killed me, considering I would get done with homework to continue taking care of my baby and then do a seven hour work shift at my job! Wow!  Thank God for Ombudsman!

Now that my time at Ombudsman is coming to an end I have a plan for my future.  I am getting my CNA this summer at College of DuPage and then get a nursing home job.  I will continue with COD in the fall and then move on to a four year college to get a nursing degree.

I have a master plan on what I want and need out of life and the mind tools to help get me there.

Thank you guys for everything! I now believe in myself!

Categories: Education Resources, Success Stories
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