Sierra left high school because she felt like it just wasn’t “for her.” Shortly after, she began caring for both of her grandmothers, each of whom had multiple health challenges. When they passed, she realized she wanted to continue to help elders, and she knew she needed her education. That is when she found Mile High Youth Corps’ YouthBuild program.
At the start of the program, Sierra was very nervous, reserved, and shy. The thought of speaking to people she didn’t know made her really uncomfortable. During the program she practiced getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, something she learned in her Leadership Development class. She worked hard to earn her certificate in nurse aide, her High School Equivalency diploma, and she earned an AmeriCorps Education Award after completing 450 hours of service. She built her resume, learned to advocate for herself, and, in her words, “became a leader.”
At the end of the program, the Corpsmember who would rather hide in the back of the room stood in front of her peers, YouthBuild staff, family, and community supporters, and gave the Corpsmember speech at the graduation celebration. Shortly after the program, Sierra passed her test to become a Certified Nurse Aide in the State of Colorado and started working as a CNA in a skilled nursing facility. Sierra was recently named as a new member of Mile High Youth Corps YouthBuild’s Alumni Council, providing voice to program development and alumni engagement activities.
Mile High Youth Corps YouthBuild gave me a second chance. I wasn’t sure what was next for my life, but being a part of the YouthBuild Health & Wellness crew opened so many new doors for me and gave me the courage to further challenge myself and continue my education.