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Lawrence Education Center

101 East Laurel
Springfield, IL 62704

Lawrence Education Center's Lessie Young Receives Award

November 26, 2012

Lawrence Education Center nominated Lessie Young for the Job Seeker Success Story for LWIA 20. Lessie was awarded with this prestigious honor on November 20, 2012, after being chosen from numerous applicants. We are very proud of her accomplishments, both in school and in life. Her story is below.


Lessie is a Prepare Youth to Work Student, (PYTW). The PYTW program provided support services, teacher/student counseling, workshops and internship opportunity for Lessie. As a single parent attending school and seeking employment the support provided by PYTW made the difference in her success.

Lessie moved from Ohio to Illinois to live with her sister. She started her education in Springfield in a GED program and then was referred to Lawrence Education Center. It was at Lawrence that her teacher Mrs. DeFend recommended her for the PYTW program.

During her time in the PYTW program, Lessie had a son named Zyaire, who is currently 14 months old. She was enrolled in school all day, worked at Walmart and participated in an internship program. This is a heavy load for anyone, much less someone just starting out with a baby to care for. Lessie has consistently demonstrated her perseverance to overcome obstacles in her life. She never gave up. She has always kept her values and did what is right. She has wisdom and applies it to her life.

The internship Lessie participated in was at the American Red Cross as an Operations Assistant. She started in January 2012 and completed in May 2012. During this time her supervisor complemented her on phone etiquette skills, data entry, accounting logs, and creating correspondence. Lessie has maintained contact with her manager at American Red Cross and if a position opens up she would like to be employed there in the future.

Lessie also worked at Walmart starting in November of 2011 and continues her employment there at this time. She started in the position of cashier. Her supervisor compliments Lessie on her customer service skills, good attendance and sweet disposition. Recently Lessie was promoted to deli associate and makes $1.00 more than her hourly starting salary. She also has taken and passed the Walmart Management Exam and is being considered for a management position. Lessie has a great work ethic. She has worked many holiday shifts when she would have rather have spent the holiday with her son. She realizes that giving up family time has made her a valued employee who can be counted on.

After graduating from Lawrence Education Center with a High School Diploma, Lessie enrolled in Lincoln Land Community College. She is currently taking general studies courses. She is looking into graphic design and office skills for her future course work. She enjoys school and wants to continue her education and complete requirements for a degree.

Lessie credits the encouragement, motivation, and support she received in PYTW program as part of her success story. Her words regarding the program, “When I first got into PYTW I didn’t know that by the time I graduated I would have two additional friends, mentors in my life, that I can depend on. When I need anything, they always have had the time for me, even if it’s just for an ear or a hug.

Currently Lessie is working full time at Walmart, attending LLCC, and taking care of her son. She is a highly motivated individual that has succeeded in reaching many goals. However, she is not stopping, because she has more goals to achieve and along the way is a positive influence to those around her. Lessie truly is a PYTW Success Story.