Sasha Bruce

It isn’t every day that you are given a second chance at life, but when that day comes you have to grab hold of it and never let it go.

Good Morning, My name is Donald Marlin and I would like to share my story with you. It isn’t every day that you are given a second chance at life, but when that day comes you have to grab hold of it and never let it go. As a high school dropout, it took me a while to realize that. I was getting older and those who were once my classmates were now college graduates and living the life that I once dreamed of having. However, from the day I stepped foot on the campus of YouthBuild, my life has changed forever. The opportunity to fix what I had once broken and repair what I once took for granted had presented itself and I now had a second chance of obtaining those credentials; my GED. I knew that wouldn’t be a walk in the park but, they say everything worth having is worth working for. Being in YouthBuild gave me a little more hope for that future that I once dreamed of. As a resident of Washington DC, it becomes far too common for people to drop out of high school and resort to “the streets” , so to be able to be a part of a community of individuals who encourage you to go outside of the norm and beat the odds, means the world to me. As I take the next steps in pursuing my GED, I realize how important it is to have this kind of support system when doing an untraditional program like this. But it doesn’t need to stop here. As a matter of fact, after I complete my testimony today, I will be going to sign up to take my GED.

We need more programs like this in the city to support our troubled youth. But what’s more important, is making sure programs like this stay around for the long haul. Every summer we see thousands of DC’s young people employed with the Summer Youth Employment Program and similar programs, but this only covers a small part of this time period and needs to be extended. They need the support all year long, programs that help those who have trouble helping themselves. I know its cliché but there is an African Proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Let’s make that village DC and focus our resources to improve the lives of youth. We need to provide resources to our troubled youth, like myself. I have seen what a difference year round employment programs have made in my life and I will continue to be the change I want to see in the world. Thank you.