Xavier is enjoying a successful dual-career as a construction manager for Habitat for Humanity during the day and a Customer Availability Program (CAP) Team Manager for Wal-Mart in the evenings. He receives mentoring from a real estate professional and can easily envision a number of potential career opportunities for himself: real estate investor, developer or the owner of an HVAC repair business. Although he has always had a lot of confidence, energy, smarts, and people skills, his future was not always so hopeful or bright.
As a high school freshman, Xavier found himself bored during class and struggled to stay interested in school. Over the next two years, he became a father and then dropped out of high school. After getting into some legal trouble, Xavier entered the Second Chance Community Improvement Program (SCCIP), an initiative that provides young offenders with a way to expunge their records through goal setting, counseling, community service, and education.
SCCIP connected Xavier with LIFT so he could enroll in LIFT’s High School Equivalency (GED) Prep program and prepare for the GED. Xavier was initially wary of coming to LIFT given his negative experience in high school.
“I thought it was going to be like high school all over again,” he explained. “I wasn’t challenged in high school because everything was so basic. I took algebra in middle school, so once I got to high school, algebra was something new to other students, but not to me.”
Xavier’s attitude towards school started to shift after he received a “most likely to pass” score on the LIFT GED practice test, an event that both humbled and changed him.
“I was upset and felt like a failure, but then, I knew I was where I needed to be,” he explained. “Then something just kicked in, and I decided that I needed to go home and study. I went home and practiced and practiced.”
Not long after he started classes at LIFT, SCCIP helped Xavier obtain a job at Habitat for Humanity. While at Habitat, Xavier developed an interest in real estate and construction, and quickly moved into a construction manager position. LIFT worked with Xavier to accommodate his new daytime obligations and moved him into evening GED Prep classes.
Xavier said he was inspired to work hard at LIFT for two main reasons: his new-found enjoyment of learning and having volunteer teachers who believed in him.
“At first, I came to school because I had to,” he said. “And then, I started liking it and you showed you had faith in me; then, I didn’t want to let you down, and then I didn’t want to let myself down.”
Xavier also liked the camaraderie, classroom participation, and opportunities for leadership in the LIFT classroom. He enjoyed showing his LIFT teachers and classmates how to do computations in their heads, without using a calculator.
“The teachers believed in me and were open minded,” he said. “They teach in a way they know, and I might have my own opinion, and they would listen to me.”
After nine months in LIFT’s HSE Prep program, Xavier took the GED and passed. He was now able to access more job opportunities, and obtained a evening job as a CAP Team Manager with Wal-Mart.
(Pictured above) Xavier and HSE Prep Program Director Karen Medlock on the day Xavier passed the GED.
One year after reluctantly walking through LIFT’s front doors, Xavier is a changed man. He realizes that he likes learning and is good at it. He has his GED and is thinking about college. He has more career opportunities, and his career has momentum. He has expanded his group of supporters and wants to give back to the community.
“My future is bright now,” he said. “I am going to figure out what I want to do and become financially stable for college. I might start with online classes, something I can do after work, or take night classes. Maybe I’ll pursue a trade I’m interested in like the central air business.”