My name is John Ekblad. I am 19 years old and I am from Grand Ledge, Michigan. I am honored and thankful to be a student at the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center. This Center has provided me with my education when all things seemed lost. Before I came to Job Corps, I was living on my own with no goals or dreams and not much ambition to accomplish anything.
Growing up, both my parents were very supportive, loving and provided for all my needs, but I had a personal struggle with ADAD. In second grade I was told by one of my teachers that I would never read because I could not focus. I struggled academically and always felt constantly behind my peers. I continued to get bad grades throughout school, and rather than getting the help I really needed, I made my friends a priority and began hanging with the wrong crowd. I started drinking, doing drugs, and having parties every other week.
On October 26th 2011, I was kicked out of my mom’s house. I was thrown out with no money or food, just my clothes. As time passed, I laid outside waiting for my mom to forgive me. But after awhile I decided I had to finally let go. It seemed that the only thing I was worried about at this point was my survival. I slept outside a few days going to school every day and going to sleep hungry each night. I didn’t want to give up and I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through not even any of my friends. My pride was the only thing I had left and I was afraid of losing that. I finally built up the courage to talk to my friends about my situation and started bouncing from house to house. I ended up dropping out of school and getting a full time job just to provide for my basic needs. My time bouncing from home to home taught me that I could choose to live a life of poverty and live pay check by pay check, or be all that I can be and have enough money to live comfortably. But in order to be all that I can be, I knew I needed an education first.
I heard about Job Corps from a friend and applied. It was my last hope of not giving up on my education. I was accepted and began the program on August 23, 2012. Since being here I become a West Wing Dorm Coordinator, earned Most Improved Student of the Month in my Trade, finished my high school diploma, and am currently 90 percent complete in the Security Trade. The structure this program offered constantly forced me to focus my attention on my education and gave me the support I always needed to be successful in my academics. The Security Trade has taught me the basic fundamentals of guarding personnel and structures, and reinforced discipline in me. Additionally, I know the work ethic I have developed here at Job Corps will help me to achieve my future goals. The career success standards have helped me in many ways. Multi-cultural awareness has taught me to cooperate and get along with everyone and independent living has showed me how to be better organized in my day to day life.
Though out my life I have realized that if you have dreams, you have to protect them. People want to tell you what you can’t do, but it’s important that you continue to believe in yourself and find someone or something that motivates you. It’s my dream to become successful through this program and go to the Navy as a Military Police Officer, get my Bachelors Degree in Forensic Science and Psychology then transfer out into the civilian workforce as a cop in order to become a homicide detective someday. I am willing to go to any extent to achieve that dream.
Job Corps has helped me redirect my life and given me the structure and positive reinforcement that I needed to believe in myself and become successful. Being homeless motivated me to make something of my life, but Job Corps gave me the opportunity to make that positive change happen. Job Corps has helped me restore a sense of pride in myself by allowing me to understand that if I set my mind to what I want and I work hard, dreams really to become a reality.