My name is Amber Lassiter. I’m 20 years old and I’m a single mother to a beautiful two-year old girl. I dropped out of high school when I was 16 years old. By 18, I had gotten pregnant, I had no education, and I had a part time job at Burger King making $8.00 an hour. My daughter’s father went to jail shortly after we found out I was pregnant. I had no support system!

I joined the Young Parents Program (YPP) at Training Resources of America through the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and that gave me the support system I needed. The combination of the Young Parents Program, DTA and PACE (child care agency) provided us with childcare for my daughter, and the opportunity for me to obtain my High School Equivalency Certificate. It also helped me financially support my daughter while I got my things back in order. It took me about a year to pass the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET).

I loved going to school at TRA-New Bedford. My YPP teacher, Mr. Grab, always gave me the positive reinforcement I needed. He didn’t mind all my questions, and he always listened to me and gave me the best advice he could give. When I went to school I loved the fact that we had a workshop every day, whether that was a parenting class or a self-esteem class, or all in general a group discussion about life and job skills. It wasn’t always academics and the schedule at Training Resources of America made me more inspired to obtain my goals. Mr. Grab and my family gave me the push I needed.

After I got my High School Equivalency Certificate, my teacher helped me get into Life Stream, a local Certified Nursing Assistant program. This was another chapter to our life! It was a very hard month! Once I met the girls and the teachers at Life Stream, I knew I was going to succeed! They were always so nice and they always tried to help as much as they could because we had such a big class. The staff taught us not only to be nurse aides, but also how to communicate in different ways, to have patience with people, to respect everyone’s differences, and also to love and care for another human. If it wasn’t for all of my teachers and family, I don’t think I would have made it this far. YPP, DTA, Pace, and Life Stream have changed our lives for the better! These programs gave us a new way to live! I finally got a job at an assisted living unit, and I’m getting more certifications and furthering my CNA License! I’ve gone through a lot in these two years, juggling being a young new parent to obtaining my High School Equivalency Certificate and CNA license. This shows that if you put your mind to anything, you can do it.

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On Thursday, January 15, 2015, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) held an award ceremony in New Bedford, MA to highlight and recognize successful achievements by TAFDC recipients enrolled in DTA-funded programs operated by DTA vendors including Training Resources of America, Inc. Participants were recognized for high school equivalency certificate attainment and transition to college or employment. It was at this event that Amber shared her YPP Success Story.

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