“My name is Bre’yon Congress. I am 19 years old and I grew up in Gary, Indiana. Before I came to Job Corps I was doing everything that a young lady had absolutely no business doing. Back at home I was very distracted. My ex-boyfriend had me thinking that school wasn’t that important, and I was getting into a lot of trouble. I was sent to the principal’s office almost every day and felt discouraged and frustrated. I started skipping school and giving my boyfriend more attention than I did my education. Both my school principal and my teacher told me that I would never be anything in life and that I should just give up. I started to believe them and lost all focus. My high school years were all about boys, partying, and fighting. I got suspended all four years until they finally told me that I was not welcome there anymore. My momma was disappointed, and knowing she was disappointed hurt, but I didn’t know how to fix it. I was so off track and lost. I decided to give alternative school a try.
While at the alternative school, I actually got my self together and started getting good grades. But then one day my principle announced that the school was going to close down. All these thoughts started going through my mind. The fear of being back like the old Bre’Yon. The fear of being like my friends, with three kids and no job and on warfare. I was scared and I didn’t want to end up like that. I didn’t know what to do next and had no where to turn. My big brother who is also a student here, told me about Job Corps. I did a lot of research and signed up. The feeling of doing something that can benefit you in the future and make your life better than it was, was the best feeling I had in a long time.
February 26, 2012 was my big day. The day I pulled up to the bus station in down town Grand Rapids. My first thought was who these to people walking up to me with this sign and why this lady smiling. Come to find out that it was my Center Director Mr. Jeff Jablonski and my counselor Mrs. Jerry Butler.
My First day at Job Corps was good. I knew what I wanted to do and I knew I was about to get it done. I decided to take the Carpentry trade because it really wasn’t a trade that girls took and I wanted something with a challenge. It was very difficult trying to finish the trade because the boys never let me do anything. But I stuck it out, worked hard, and I not only completed the trade but also received the 24th Annual Forrest Pletcher Scholarship Award. When I won, I was so proud of myself. I never thought in a million years that I would win something so big. Finishing the Carpentry trade and earning a scholarship made me realize I can accomplish so much.
Today, I am a very independent young lady, someone who I never thought that I could be. I am a silver card holder and plan on getting my gold card. I have improved my overall attitude. I am calmer, more patient, and have less anger. I have learned how to work through my problems instead of fighting. And most importantly, Job Corps has taught me that you have to work hard in order to accomplish your goals. Success is not going to be handed to me – I have to work hard to realize my dreams, and I plan to do just that.
In addition to completing the Carpentry Trade, I am also a student mentor coordinator, a floor leader, room captain, and the Treasurer of the Student Government Association. After completing Job Corps, I plan to join the Carpentry Union and work in the construction field. Eventually, I would like to attend college and earn my bachelor’s degree.
If you would have asked me what my plans were, this time last year, I would not have had an answer. Now I have a plan for my future. I am so happy that I came to Job Corps because I have accomplished so much that I never thought I could. The happiness and cheer in my mommas voice when I call her and tell her all of my accomplishments makes me feel so proud of how far I have come. I never thought that I would hear that in her voice again. Thanks to Job Corps, I believe in myself. I have succeeded here because of all of the support and help from the staff. It’s like I have over 100 mommas and daddies encouraging me, supporting me, and pushing me to do the right thing. They might get on my nerves sometimes, but I am so happy that I picked this Job Corps to attend and I am very proud to say that I am part of the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps family. Here they have taught me to believe in myself – and if I work hard, I can achieve all my dreams.”