On November 17 CYDC bid goodbye to Keon, who marked his 18th birthday by returning home to live with his mother in Columbia. Keon had two separate placements at CYDC, the first in early 2014 for about six months, the second in summer 2015.
Over the period from summer to his 18th birthday, with guidance and direction from Bakker Career Center and residential staff, Keon made positive strides, passing his GED on his first attempt. Staff also helped Keon land a full-time job at Sonic, where he stayed employed until the day he signed out of care. Additionally, Bakker staff taught Keon financial literacy skills that enabled him to open a bank account and acquire a debit card so he could begin accruing his savings.
During our 5-week summer Biz Camp program he interned with an urban farm initiative called Sow Seasonal where he learned about gardening and sustainable farming. Then when Sow Seasonal partnered with CYDC to start a community garden on our campus, Keon enthusiastically applied his newfound skill set to assist Sow Seasonal owner Chris Miller in digging, tilling and planting the rows. Keon came into our Cummins Turbo Technologies auto lab partnership halfway through, but eagerly took advantage of this chance to receive onsite training and hands-on experience in basic automotive care.
Keon is a bright young man who is optimistic about his future. He hopes to attend Technical College and eventually transfer to Clemson University where he can root on his beloved Tigers’ football team. However, we couldn’t positively impact the lives of vulnerable youth such as Keon without YOUR support. Thank you for wanting to make a difference in our community!