Since enrolling at YouthBuild Philly, graduate Naja Bland ’11 has racked up a number of milestones and personal accomplishments as a student and a young leader. She graduated from YouthBuild with high honors and is now a college student preparing to enroll in a registered nursing program. Additionally, she participates in national policy-making and planning as the Vice President of YouthBuild USA’s National Young Leaders Council.
This week, she can add “nationally-read blogger” to her resume. Yesterday, The Huffington Post published a post written by Naja entitled “Making Choices,” which chronicles the past several years of her life – from her decision to reclaim her education to her current leadership positions and plans for the future:
In my search to complete my education, I found YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School. YouthBuild helped instill in me the importance of being a leader, taking responsibility for my actions, staying drug free, and setting goals for myself that I was determined to achieve. With help from my Dean and other students, I ran community meetings of my entire class. I engaged in community service at hospitals, nursing homes, and other schools. I enjoyed giving back to my community with a team of young leaders like me, who were trying to accomplish the one thing most people yearn for–positive success.
I graduated from YouthBuild Philadelphia with my high school diploma, high honors, and many awards. In return for my YouthBuild community service, I earned an AmeriCorps education award that helped me pay for college. I earned my certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant and now work full-time. I love the work I do, helping elderly people who are no longer in their homes and placed in an unfamiliar facility. It is my honor to care for them. Caring for another human being is not a job, it’s one of the greatest acts we can do for someone else. I will continue to pursue my education and keep my patients’ health and dignity as my utmost concern.
Naja’s post is her contribution to YouthBuild USA’s #JobRaising campaign, a crowd-funding project sponsored by The Huffington Post and the Skoll Foundation to promote organizations helping Americans get “back to work.” YouthBuild USA has spent the past several weeks blogging about YouthBuild’s unique career development programming and soliciting donations in support of their campaign. Click here to learn more and help YouthBuild USA connect youth to jobs.