The Olney/Logan E3 Center, operated by Lutheran Children and Family Service (LCFS), offers young people between the ages of 16 and 22 the opportunity to make a successful transition to adulthood by providing GED training, work and life skills. E3 Center students include those who have left high school and not earned a diploma or GED as well as individuals returning from delinquent placement facilities. The E3 Center represents empowerment, education and employment and is committed to helping students become self-motivated, self-supporting and contributing participants in their communities.
When Markeef Howard left high school before graduating, he had no idea of the challenges he would face in the next two years. “I left because I didn’t want to hang out and get in trouble like so many other kids,” says Markeff. At the time, that seemed like a solution. But after spending 16 months in a detention center, he realized he needed help and resources for a better future.
When the Olney/Logan E3 Center opened in January 2011, Markeef was among the first students to enroll. His advisor, Sadonna Charleston, remembers her first session with Markeef. “Although he was very shy and quiet, one thing was certain – Markeef was motivated and clear about his goals. He wanted to get his GED and either attend college or get a good paying job,” says Sadonna.
Over the next nine months, Markeef attended daily classes and often stayed late for additional help. When it was time to take the GED exam, his E3 Center family was rooting for him and helped him overcome his testing anxiety. Markeef missed passing by just one point. Disappointed and distracted by family issues, Markeef almost gave up when he failed a second time, again by only one point.
“Everyone was trying to help me go on for a third try. I didn’t know if I could take another failure. They helped me believe in myself so I took the exam again and passed!” says Markeef.
It was his perseverance and attitude along with the continued support of the skilled and understanding staff that resulted in the success of the E3 Center’s first graduate. Markeef plans to attend the Community College of Philadelphia beginning in January to learn and improve on his photography skills.
What are some of the challenges that young adults face today when working towards a quality education and looking for a job?