Success Stories


               New Options Success Stories 


 Beginning of My Life - Vince




Charleen Success Story for WIA Youth in Ottawa County


Beginning of my life - Vince

Graduation, a time in everybody's life where they feel like they accomplished something bigger than the normal feat of accomplishment. A time of love, butterflys ( in the air and in your stomach), barbecues, fresh air, and last but not least the heartfelt sensation of reality. Getting into the real world, understanding the fact that wow your just not in high school no more, you have to do something with your life now. Time to get dressed up and be Hollywood, let those lights shine down and show you those two choices. What you'll choose has been waiting in you all this time, and no graduation day, start over when the people that doubted you before look your way, give them a stare show them the confidence and knowledge you acquired, and let them know, "You'll never know what's going on in somebody's mind." There's a lot of pressure on someone growing up. You have to watch it. Just be happy I wasn't one of those people you had to watch out for.

When I was growing up through grade school, I thought to myself this is never going to end. Now it's here before I even knew what to do. In high school the thought of graduation fell farther and farther away. My dad used to tell me, "Vince you need to at least do good in school and graduate, so you can take care of me when I'm old." Then I would just smile and go back to what I was doing. I never took it in really, then when he passed away, I really looked at it in a different way, and pushed more than I ever did in my life for something. Look whats happening now, I'm a perfect example of someone who had nothing, now since I worked and put my heart into it a ton of good is coming out of it.

What to do now after I'm gone? Well now that I'm done with school, I've been looking for a job and will continue to until I find one. Hopefully now I got a diploma it will help out tremendously. Along with a job, this winter I'm going to start at GRCC to become an electrician. Hopefully that all works out because I can tell already that I'm going to have an interesting summer. I have a ton of stuff I have to do not only to my house but just like getting a job keeping up on my car and personal things I have to deal with. Life though!? Why is there always something? That is the question people have been asking for ages. Somethings we'll never know the answer to and never will, just ride along the game your playing. Don't complain because no matter how hard the game gets, everyones always playing against you!

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending"
- Maria Robinson

When I found this quote, I knew it was perfect - then I was only challenged with the words I could use to summarize my time spent here.

New Options is the reject school, all the kids here are criminals, and the teachers won't make you work - at least that is what I have heard from everyone that knows nothing about it. As much as it hurts me to say it, these words sometimes come from people I hold dear to me. There are many things people will never understand about New Options.

From the outside, it's a concentration of the kids that never seemed to care, the kids that didn't want to make it work... but that was never really the case. I've been lucky enough to get to know New Options, and I can tell you right now, it's nothing short of a very bonded family. We don't carry the same stereotypes here as they do in the other schools. We don't have the jocks, or the geeks, we have the kids that get it and the kids that don't. A vast majority of the students at New Options get "it". They get that the world isn't going to hand them things, they get that they have to pave their own roads and they get that things they do today will effect them tomorrow. The kids that don't get "it" are taking this gorgeous opportunity to move forward in life and still treating it like an effortless favor to someone, like they're waiting for their opportunity still.

Part of our success at New Options was having adults and peers that judged you only by what they, for themselves, knew about you. Some of us have outstanding reputations, that have been passed down from peer to peer, resulting in an exaggeration or misinterpretation of who we were. I'll let you in on a little secret... we're just kids. we're just kids trying to push forward through our foggy pasts and who we used to be.

Fortunately, although our pasts may help define us, they do not control us, they do not hold us captive in an unbending time warp of failure and rejection. We can - and for the most part do raise from the things that seem to weigh us down most.

New Options has given us a new chance and taught us how to interact... and even the words unknowing mouths bleed have become a learning experience, teaching us to strive to accomplish our goals despite the misunderstandings of others. I hope that today, as we leave here and are unleashed upon the world, we remember to learn from our past rather than hold it with us as a burden.

Special thanks goes out to my Grandma and Sister who taught me how to give, whether it be with my heart, my labor, or my blood. =D

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I have some advice to for kids still in high school and are just nodding off, (school, life and parents) just like I used to do. I'm telling you from experience, you can't always get what you want, play by the rules, and respect your family man cause honestly they are going to be there through the toughest times no matter what, not your idiot friends. They might not be stupid but you really don't know what you have until it's gone. Push your hardest to achieve any goal, because honestly YOU and only you can achieve anything, and I mean anything!


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Charleen Success Story for WIA Youth in Ottawa County


Charleen was found eligible for the WIA Youth Program in October of 2006. She was referred by New Options High, which is an alternative education program in Allendale. She had just begun her junior high when I first met her.


In November she attended a reverse job shadow day where she learned about different careers and created a resume on the MTB, listing her skills.

Charleen began seriously searching for a job in January of 2007. After applying numerous places she finally was employed at the end of April by Little Ceasar Pizza for 15-20 hours a week at $5.91 an hour.

In July, WIA Youth paid for driver's education, which was successfully completed in August of 2007.

By this time Charleen was off and running with a goal in mind of becoming a nurse. She was accepted to start classes at Careerline Tech for can training to begin in September, 2007 through her senior year. WIA Youth again assisted her by supplying funds for scrubs, shoes, and gas cards for her to go to work and attend Careerline Tech.

By February Charleen saved up enough money to purchase a car, which WIA Yough again came through with one month of car insurance to get her on the road.

April, 2008 was a big month for Carleen. Not only was she accepted into GRCC but gained employment at Metro Health Center in Lamont as a Dietary Aid, with the promise of employment as a can after completion of the State certification test. Charleen also completed her internship at Rest Haven in Holland making her eligible to take the Certified Nurses Aid test.

On the morning of April 25, I took Charleen to Metro for her orientation and then proceeded to the college to sign her up and pay for HESA test, drug testing, finger printing and a study guide with high hopes of getting Charleen on the list of GRCC's 2 year nursing program. The excitement and gratification that morning was evident from both of us.

This month Charleen will graduate from New Options High, take her State Certification test for can and take her HESA test to finalize all qualifications for the nursing program at GRCC!

Charlene would like to thank the WIA Youth program for all the financial assistance and encouragement she received from her case managers.

It will be even more exciting to follow with Charleen as she continues to work hard to obtain her goal to become a registered nurse.

Very talented and creative, Charleen is a young woman and we wish her the best as she starts this new journey in her life.




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