Archive for the 'Student Profiles' Category

Latasha: Single mom juggles work, school and dreams

With a toddler son to care for, Latasha worked a succession of minimum wage jobs before she came to YouthBuild Newark. PHOTOS BY AKINTOLA HANIF.

YouthBuild Newark student Latasha longs to live in a place where her son can ride his bike. 

So for the past year, Latasha and Faheem rose at dawn to catch the bus to daycare before her YouthBuild Newark school day began at 8 a.m. 

At 4 p.m., she hopped three buses to her job as a Pathmark cashier, which didn’t end until 11:30. Relatives helped take care of Faheem, her three-year-old, but sometimes he cried for her to stay. Latasha felt a pang of guilt, knowing she wouldn’t see him until the next day. 

“It was hard. I wanted to stay home. But I had to do what I had to do because I knew it would better him in the long run,” says Latasha, who is 23. “I came here because I wanted to be his role model. I can’t tell him finish school if I didn’t. That would be hypocritical.”
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YouthBuild Newark student Earlie: New haircut, new life

Before and after photos of YouthBuild Newark student Earlie, who cut his hair after enlisting in the Navy. PHOTOS BY AKINTOLA HANIF.

It was hard not to notice Earlie dreadlocks. The tips were bright green–he dyed them for St. Patrick’s Day– and they stayed that way until a few weeks ago.

That’s when Earlie, 18, decided to get a haircut, his first since age 14, when he began growing his shoulder-length dreads. Without them, even his five-month-old son, Mazi, had trouble recognizing Earlie until he adjusted to dad’s new look.

But the haircut helped Earlie get a job at FedEx as an “inbound docker,” operating a forklift. And it will save him a trip to the barber when he goes to Navy boot camp in August.
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Rosaly: ‘I won’t give up.’

YouthBuild Newark student Rosaly is determined to get her GED. PHOTO BY AKINTOLA HANIF.

Rosaly sits in a basement classroom alone, working on her essay.

She is easily distracted by other students, so she sought out a quiet place to write.

Since Rosaly came to YouthBuild Newark in the fall, she’s been finding ways to cope with her learning difficulties. She devised her own methods of preparing for the GED test, and studies diligently, no matter how frustrating that can be.

“You can’t go anywhere without that piece of paper,” says Rosaly, who is 19. “This is what you need in life.”

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