Yadira has persevered over many challenges including leaving high school at 16 because of her pregnancy and being a single parent of four children. She is now working for East Hartford Public Schools helping others access community resources and plan their futures. Yadira earned her NEDP diploma four years ago and credits the program with allowing her to chase her dreams.
Yadira was born in Connecticut, but spent much of her childhood moving between Connecticut and Puerto Rico. In 1989, her family moved to Hartford, Connecticut, and Yadira attended school not knowing any English. Despite the language barrier, Yadira always enjoyed school and always did well.
In middle school, Yadira fell into the wrong crowd and was suspended many times. Despite the positives in her life, Yadira said she felt like she had to “fit in” with her classmates. Her negative behavior continued.
She dropped out of high school at 16 when she learned she was pregnant. Then Yadira became pregnant with a second child and attempted to go back to school, but she felt isolated from the other students and felt she was being punished for her pregnancy. She stopped attending soon after.
Despite raising two children at a young age, Yadira never stopped working and found employment in restaurants and retail to provide for her family. Yadira said, “I have pretty much worked very day of my life, but those jobs closed doors for me. They did not open new ones.”
After some time, Yadira’s cousin, who works for East Hartford Public Schools as a community liaison encouraged her to return to school. Yadira took GED classes at Hartford Adult Education. When Yadira took the GED test, she came within a few points of passing. Discouraged, she took a break from classes for another year.
Yadira returned to Hartford Adult Education in 2015 to inquire about GED classes and learned about the NEDP. She was very interested and upon passing the pre-assessments, enrolled in the program.
Her time in the NEDP would not be easy for many reasons. Soon after enrollment, Yadira had to endure court proceedings when two men were arrested for the murder of her daughter’s father. Yadira remained focused and credits the Hartford Adult Education NEDP lead assessor, Beverly LeConche, for helping her through the program. Yadira, still working full time, and would spend every Monday, her day off, working through the program at the Hartford Adult Education Center.