David Geren is one of LearningQuest’s most recent graduates from the High School Equivalency program at the Oakdale site. Raised in a stable family, David chose to make decisions that caused his path to intervene with time in prison. Although he was briefly enrolled in the HSE program at LearningQuest before incarceration, he was forced to halt his educational development. Prison allowed David time to analyze his choices and after his release, he gained full custody of his son. As a single father wanting to give his son a better life, he grew determined to improve himself.
David said, “I used to be on drugs, I used to get incarcerated, get locked up. I used to be in a bad relationship. Now I’m single, went to self-help groups and I’m clean, almost been clean a year. It’s time to get a real job, that why I’m going through the GED program. I could work construction under the table, [but] I don’t want to do that; I’ve got a son now, I want to get benefits. I want to have a career.”
Rejoining the HSE program and dealing with finding reliable child care, he stayed focused, “I put one foot in front of the other and showed up every day. I came ready and prepared to learn, and did my best.”
David appreciated the classroom and instructor support he received because it kept him accountable, “It’s great that the organization has a classroom with other students because by myself I don’t know if I would’ve studied. With the teachers, they helped a lot. I passed them [tests] all on the first try. It wasn’t because I knew everything; it was because the teachers helped me learn what I needed to learn to pass the test.”
He understood that the hard work was only temporary and that reaching his goal of getting into a trade school and finding a career was worth it, “If you get your GED there’s all kinds of doors that are more available to better your life. It’s a big confidence builder. A month ago I was down in the dirts, I [couldn’t] get good a job, I [didn’t] have a GED. Now here I am with my GED and good to go onto college…ready to move forward.”
David’s advice to current and future students: “It’s possible, it’s achievable. I’m 29 so I’ve been trying to get this for many years now, it’s not like it happened overnight. Never give up, it’s never too late. Keep on going. It doesn’t take long to turn your life around. Within a year I’ve turned my life around 100%. Keep reaching out to people and programs out there that are there to help. Because of the GED program…everyone in this organization who’s…been willing to help me better myself: that’s really a blessing.”