Inspiration in her child’s eyes
Kenia ran away from home at age 18 and was pregnant less than a year later, expecting a son. School was the last thing on her mind.
She knew there were many jobs that would hire someone without a high school diploma, yet the birth of Kenia’s child changed her outlook. Kenia wanted more for her and her baby, seeing her newborn son as a reason to work hard.
To achieve the best possible future, Kenia explored opportunities that would allow the school/life balance she needed while pursuing her education. The Ombudsman Parker Center’s flexible schedule offered her a way forward.
Ombudsman offered Kenia academic support and hope that she could provide her son with a loving, stable home. When her son sees her walk across the graduation stage in May, Kenia (now 20) wants him to know that there is always hope – even in the midst of struggle.
When life presents challenges, young adults often make hard choices and earning a diploma is no longer a priority. Ombudsman Educational Services works with students who have unique academic needs and diverse personal backgrounds.
Asked what advice she would offer young mothers who are considering dropping out, Kenia replied, “If you want your kid to succeed, you need to succeed for yourself. What if he wants to drop out? I can’t get mad at him, because I dropped out.”
A determined girl named Bri
Virtually on her own since the age of 14, Bri started high school with little concern about her grades. A harsh living situation overshadowed her course work, and she found herself moving from house to house for nearly two years during her freshman and sophomore years.
Despite this instability, Bri continued to enroll in nearby schools. At the start of Bri’s junior year, she reached out to her father who offered a more stable home situation. She was motivated to succeed, but changing schools multiple times had caused her to fall far behind in credits. She was the age of a high school junior, yet she only had enough credits to qualify as a freshman. This would require attending school for two or three more years before earning enough credits to graduate.
Bri was referred to Ombudsman and was immediately embraced by supportive teachers who encouraged her to remain positive. Knowing Bri’s goal was to graduate on time, Center Director Melissa Beck and her staff kept Bri on course.
According to Bri, the staff has motherly instincts that are comforting, and they balance that support with academic encouragement. The program also provides a therapist to let Bri discuss her emotions when needed. These resources, paired with Ombudman’s individualized curriculum, led Bri to take control of her educational journey.
About her Ombudsman experience, Bri said: “There is no impossible here. They are here for us.” Mrs. Beck and the teachers at Ombudsman Parker encouraged Bri to reach her goals. Thanks to the Ombudsman program and Bri’s hard work, she will graduate on time at age 18 with the class of 2018.
Located in northwest Arizona, the Ombudsman Parker Center partners with the local school district to keep students on track toward earning a high school diploma. While any school can offer a curriculum and place to learn, it takes something extra to keep at-risk students on track and focused.
Ombudsman centers are located in 15 states and provide more than 1,700 Arizona students with an alternative to traditional high school. Ombudsman features a blended learning model that combines traditional teacher-led instruction with an independently-paced, technology-rich curriculum.
If you or someone you know needs to earn additional credits, is at risk of dropping out, or has dropped out of school and wants to earn a high school diploma, visit www.Ombudsman.com. Students in Arizona can visit www.ArizonaDiploma.com.
“There is no impossible here. (Ombudsman teachers) are here for us.”
– Bri, graduate of Ombudsman Parker Center