Taking full responsibility for the choices he made that led to his incarceration, Juwan used his time in jail to make changes that would ensure he never ended up there again. One of those was grabbing the opportunity to enroll in Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) and take GED courses.
At 15, Juwan dropped out of school and began running with a dangerous crowd. He says he lacked a sense of belonging. Through his own determination and the support of his JMG Specialist, Tracy Tanner, he realized the importance of education, studied and passed all his GED tests as well as participated in graduation from jail. Since his release, he is living up to all his responsibilities, holding a full-time job, and staying focused on his long-term goal of acquiring his CDL license. His success was celebrated when he was named JMG Alumni of the Year for 2020. Even though the pandemic has created challenges, he is persevering and won’t give up. “JMG was very helpful for me,” Juwan explained. “The program and my great mentor Tracy, helped me and pushed me and I haven’t given up. I keep moving forward. I can’t be stopped right now.” His story is an inspiration; it’s one of a young man learning and understanding the importance of getting an education and staying on the right path. Juwan shared his story recently as a panelist for Coffee with a Purpose: The Pandemic’s Effect on Youth Disengagement from Education and Employment. If you missed it, the recording is available here.