Yes I Can!

Uploaded by PCCvideos on 13.09.2010


Maryam: I dropped out of school for three years
and I just thought I was really dumb.
Kristie: I dropped out of high school
because I got too far behind and it was too far to catch up.
Eric: No one cared if I cared.
You know that kind of made me feel like what's the point.
Shalaya: I got lupus in 2009
and from then I had to leave regular high school.
Jeff: I had a lot of family issues at home that I felt trumped school
like dealing with evictions and domestic violence in the home
and other things like that.
Tara: I've had my share of drugs. It was bad.
It was another reason why I didn't go to school or I didn't really care
because I was just having fun doing drugs and drinking and stuff.
Jeff: [SINGS] I dropped out. Direction was lost.
I couldn't conform to live my life in a little box.
So here I stand, the rebel that I am,
got a grill in front of me with a spatula in my right hand
flippin' burgers when I know a greater purpose exists.
Yeah, lives just right beneath the surface of where it's at.
I'm almost up to bat.
There's a lot that I have but a few things that I lack. Yo.
Yes, I can even though they said I can't
I got empowered just to succeed just in a different way.
May be a little late. Either way it's still the same.
Say what you wanta say. Success is in my DNA.
Yes, I can even though they said I can't. I gotta - -[MUSIC FADES]
Jeff: It's hard to focus on school, like regular high school, and take it important
when you've got some serious stuff going on at home, you know
Tara: I felt that my mom was crushed when I told her that I'm gonna drop out
and I don't know what I'm gonna do.
Eric: I need to, you know, kinda face my own personal habitual demons, I guess.
Those included like,
you know, smokin' pot or whatever before class, or not goin'
because I was too lazy and I was drinking or something, you know, intoxicants and..
Maryam: There's a lot of drama, like, Okay, who's going out with who?
Oh, my God I cannot believe she's going out with him-or whatever.
Shalaya: I actually didn't think that I would finish school.
I didn't think that I would go on and-and get my GED.
I thought I was just too sick to do anything.
Jeff: In high school I was very lazy.
I was probably the/my- One of my biggest issues was that
I would rather do other stuff than-than do homework.
Eric: I mean, I was kind of a clown but a little rowdy, too.
Tara: I got sidetracked a lot and I had really bad testing anxiety.
I was bad in math 'cause I really never went to math class and-
I made some friends and then-who I thought they were my friends
and it was, Hey, you wanta just leave and let's go get drunk or something?
And I was like, Is this- I was like, Yeah, this is kind of boring. Let's just go.
Marla: And they have homelessness that they're dealing with.
They might be, you know, dealing with alcohol and drug addictions,
and they've just fallen out of love with being in school.
Tracie: Could be that peer pressure. They don't feel safe in school.
They rather go hang out with their friends or not get up in the morning.
We get a-a wide range.
Maryam: For the three years that I wasn't in school, I kind of just slacked off
and didn't really, just didn't really do anything at all.
I felt really crappy, felt lonely, and I felt like I was missing something and I-I-
Took me- It took me a while to realize what I was missing and which was school.
Eric: Yeah. You know I make minimum wage at McDonald's was not fun, to say the least.
I decided to get back into school because I hated working at McDonald's
and smellin' like McDonald's all day ain't fun.
Tara: This isn't the road that I wanta go down.
I don't wanta just be some drug addict or some dropout.
I need to do something with my life.

I decided to get my GED when I realized that I-I couldn't get a good paying job.

Jeff: And that was basically all the jobs I was able to get were dishwashing jobs
and bottom of the barrel jobs that really didn't pay very well.
You know I'm living on the streets. I have to just beg for everything I have.
You can't make it. You have no money. I have no car.
I-I was, I was miserable.
I-I didn't like what/where I was in my life and I-I didn't know what I wanted to be.
I didn't know- I didn't have any dreams or aspirations.
You know it-it- You get to the point where you just start hating yourself
and in the position that you're in
and-and you know that the/what's work/what's going on right now is not working.
Life is just, you know, too stressful. I need to make some money
and I came to the point that I was like,
You know what do I do? Where do I go?
Jeff: [SINGS] Like, yo, I lack an education.
I lack the motivation to deal with school. I dropped out, due to lack of patience,
but please believe I gotta succeed
'cause if there's one thing I know is there're nothin' for free
and I ain't trying to live broke, man, that just ain't for me.
There's a whole world out there that I'm still yet to see
so I'm done with the streets. Time for PCC.
Gonna take step one and get my G-E-D.
Yes, I can. Even though they said I can't,
I got empowered to succeed just in a different way.
May be a little late. Either way it's still the same.
Say what you wanta say. Success is in my DNA.
Yes, I can. Even though they said I can't,
Tracie: Always when you ask them:
You know what is one thing you could go back and change about
the decisions you've made?
And almost every single one of them that will-will tell you
it's dropping out of high school.
Tara: I can't survive like this. This isn't gonna work for me
and the way I can get a better job is if I go to school and get a career.
Maryam: My biggest motivation to go back to school was
when I would see someone who's successful and they're doing what I wanta do.
I didn't want to be-be a nobody. I wanted to make a difference.
Tara: I was determined to go to school and get my GED
because I know later on in the future that it will open a lot of doors for me.
Tracie: The YES Program gives students a clean slate.
When a student comes here and they've been
they haven't been successful in high school,
they've dropped out, they're behind in credits
I don't look at any of that.
I give my students a complete second shot.
Eric: The YES Program that people seem to generally care, you know,
was a-a smaller compact classes, you know,
and we had one teacher to, you know, 15 students, I'd say.
And, you know, it was really good
because they helped you one-on-one when you needed it,
gave you information, you know, kept pushing you
even when you didn't wanta be pushed.
Marla : This works because they have, I think,
a stronger relationship with a few key people.
Derrick: Do you know what a pair of binoculars do?
You've seen binoculars. What do they magnify things?
Student: Five times.
Eric: I learn more and, you know, it's all in a good environment,
help me kind of map out my future, find out what I really wanted to get done
and how I wanted just to get it done in the most efficient way.

Derrick: So you guys all believe that now?
Tara: I was doing the math part.
I was ready to give up because it was really hard.
I wasn't understanding it.
I wasn't getting the formula down. I couldn't remember half of what I-
I mean I go home and then I couldn't remember like,
Okay, how did I do this, you know?
Between Tracie and Derrick I really started understanding it.
But then when I wasn't understanding it, it was really hard
and I used to just go home and I was just so depressed all day.
It was like, Oh, my gosh, if I can just get done with this math test.
So I just kept doing it. I'd say, You know what?
I'm just gonna keep doing this 'cause I'm gonna get it. I'm just gonna get it.
I'm gonna keep tellin' myself I'm gonna get this.
And when I found out I passed, oh, my God, I cried so hard. I was so happy.
I came and I hugged Tracie and I hugged Derrick and I hugged my mom.
Everybody was proud of me and I felt really good about myself.
Kristie: If it wasn't for the YES Program, I probably wouldn't have a career right now
and I'd probably be living at home still,
just working a minimum wage job, barely getting by.
When I got enrolled in the GED, I didn't have any intention on going on
going to college at that point until Tracie motivated me to go
and help me chose [choose] something I wanted to do.

I picked the Medical Assisting program because
when I was a child growing up, I always wanted to be in the medical field.
I graduated on a Friday in June and the following Monday I started work
and I work for Providence Medical Group, North Portland.
And what I do here is I take patients' vital signs, draw blood, give injections.
Also we do EKGs, air litharge. I like the diversity here.
We deal with a lot of low income people and it's a lot of work here.
I love my job and I learn lots of new stuff every day.
Tracie: We're focused on, you know, trying to help a student figure out:
What-what would they love to do down the road?
What would be their ultimate career goal?
Having at least their GED opens a huge array of options for them and, you know
freedom to-to explore anything and try to figure out what they wanta do.
Jeff: One of the things is: What are your dreams? What do you wanta do?
What-what are your aspirations?
Because you-you can't be a happy person if you're doing something that you hate.
Maryam: I found out what I love to do and I love to write
and then I realized that I wanted to be journalist.
Marla: Kids do find their own best selves in this program.
You know I think they are really able to see who they are inside,
what they can accomplish, what they can do, who they can be,
and they stare at that person
and then they have to decide once they leave our program:
Do they wanta continue to be that person?
Maryam: I actually haven't said this about myself
but actually kind of proud of myself that I actually got my GED
and I am doing normal college classes right now
so I feel that I'm actually doing better than I thought I would.
This is my picture. I graduated in June 2009
and I was really excited that I got my GED.
Tracie: They definitely leave more confident, more motivated, more focused,
and they are definitely ready to move on to bigger and better things.
Shalaya: I don't think I would have the same confidence
if I would have went through high school
because for, one, I wouldn't have finished on time.
Marla: A hundred percent of them feel better about themselves when they leave,
a hundred percent.

Tara: I'd have to say my self-esteem and self-image is much higher than it used to be.
I feel more like-like I can do it.
Like I have that I-can-do-it kind of attitude, you know.

Eric: I definitely feel more mature
because I actually accomplished something in my life. [CHUCKLES]
Jeff: It made me grow up. It made me-
It took me from being/still being a teenager to actually growing up and-and-
and realizing what it means to be an adult and what it means to be a-a-a man.
Tara: I feel that the people in the YES Program instilled a lot of hope in me
and it made me feel better about myself and it made me wanta come to school.

Kristie: If you don't have a good education in this life,
it's really hard for you to get by.
It's hard to get many jobs. Many jobs do require a GED

so the only thing you're gonna be able to do is
work at a low income job and not really move up.

Shalaya: Oh, what's next is go to college.

I've already signed up for some of my classes.
Tara: I've learned that I can do anything, if I put my mind to it.
Jeff: If-if I had never got my GED,

I would be miserable.
I-I wouldn't- I would not even be close to where I'm at right now.
I wouldn't have had half the experiences in my life in the last couple of years
since getting my GED that I've had.
Marla: Their relationship with school and with education has transformed,
even if I can't get everybody a GED,
even if something's going on in their lives that we have to take a timeout,
that they have a different relationship with education.

Jeff: [SINGS] People doubt and wanta judge me 'cause I dropped out
but imagine the surprise in right in front of their eyes I walk across the stage,
shake his hand. Thank you, that's mine-about time-it's better than never.
It's only up to you to get your ish together so get your ash in gear.
You can't wait another year 'cause we only gettin' older
and no turnin' back from here. Take the wheel and steer.
The coast is clear. Take control of your life and don't succumb to fear.
Time keeps ticking. Yeah, the end is near
so start today and build a legacy from when you wanta hear. Ah. Yes, I can.
Eric: You know I couldn't even put it into words, honestly,
the/you know the feeling that I got from her about me [my] accomplishments so.
She was definitely happy to see that diploma or that little certificate.
She's actually got it on a frame on a stand in our living room.

Tara: My mom is jumpin' for joy

and she is so proud of me and she always told me I can do it.

Shalaya: They said they're gonna all be there
and they're very proud and they tell me all the time.
Jeff: [SINGING] Yes, I can. Even though they said I can't,
I got empowered to succeed just in a different way.
May be a little late. Either way it's still the same.
Say what you wanta say. Success is in my DNA.
Yeah. And it's in yours, too.
All you gotta do is look inside yourself and see what you find.
No matter what anybody says,
no matter who doubts you

just keep your head up.
Know that you're worth more than what anybody says.
Only you control your own destiny. Ah. Ah. Ah. Ah.

[SINGING] Yes, I can. Even though they said I can't,
I got empowered to succeed just in a different way.
May be a little late. Either way it's still the same.
Say what you wanta say. Success is in my DNA.
Yes, I can. Even though they said I can't,
I got empowered to succeed just in a different way.
May be a little late. Either way it's still the same.
Say what you wanta say. Success is in my DNA. [MUSIC FADES]