Did you know that more than 7,000 U.S. students drop out of high school every day? Even in a largely rural state like Maine, more than two thousand students drop out each year. Two thousand too many. These numbers have big impact on a small state like ours. Those without diplomas are more likely to face job insecurity, poverty, homelessness, and even incarceration. They are more likely to rely on public assistance. They are also more likely to have children who do not complete high school.
At Wayfinder Schools, we are giving Maine’s most vulnerable youth a second chance at high school graduation. During the past five years, almost every student we have served has lived below the federal poverty level, and close to 50% of our graduates had at one time been homeless. Despite these significant challenges, more than 70% our graduates pursue college, trade school and technical training programs, and more than 80% secure employment within six weeks of graduation.
We need your help to get them there. We never turn a student away for inability to pay and we are committed to getting students through to graduation. This year more than half of our students do not receive tuition from their sending school districts. This includes students who are close to graduating but have turned 20 before the start of the academic year.
These students have so much to offer, and we hope you’ll join us in supporting their hopes and dreams for the future. We still need to raise $85,000 in support of our 2019 graduating class, and we hope you will join us in this effort. Please help us Share the Love this February by clicking, donating and sharing this campaign in support of the students who need us most.
When you SHARE the Love, you are:
Meet Harley Kirk, Class of 2018, pictured above:
WS: Can you talk a bit about your life before Wayfinder?
HK: My life before Wayfinder was honestly a mess... I was homeless and pregnant. But I got in the right programs to help me get to where I wanted to be. And they got me set up with Wayfinders and it was the most amazing experience in my life. If it wasn't for you guys I would have never continued my education and would have never been able to raise a healthy family, but look at me now, finishing my CNA course next week!!
I became a parent at the age of 16 with my beautiful daughter Giselle, and 15 months later I had my very unexpected but very loved son Gunner, and I wouldn't change being mom for anything in this world. I feel my babies saved me and pointed me in the right direction because there is someone there that needs you no matter what no matter what day no matter what time or place they need YOU and it's an amazing feeling.
WS: What was one of the most important things you learned at Wayfinder?
HK: The most important thing I learned from Wayfinder would have to be to NEVER GIVE UP. There's always a way. When the tunnel is getting dark look for the shining light. What you work for will come to you in the end. It may be a long travel but the drive is well worth it in the end.
WS: Can you talk a little bit about your teacher?
HK: My teacher was an amazing person. She was caring, respectful, always willing to help with anything from household stuff to a math problem I seemed to never get. No matter how frustrated I got she helped me, and most importantly, she NEVER gave up on me and that was a true blessing. Thank you Erica ❤️.
WS: What was your favorite workshop?
HK: I loved all the workshops I thought it was an amazing thing you guys do with the parents for us all to get to know each other and our babies to interact with each other. It was amazing. I made a lot of friends through workshops. My favorite one would have to be children's museum because the kids absolutely loved it.
WS: What have you been up to since graduation?
HK: I have been up to many things since graduation. I thought I'd be so bored and have nothing to do, but you guys helped me get my life on track and that's what I did. I got my license a week before graduation. I got a car along with a job as a Personal Support Specialist at Tall Pines Retirement & Healthcare Community. I finish my CNA course next week. Then I'll be a CNA at Tall Pines.
WS: Anything else you’d like to add?
HK: We are moving into a three-bedroom apartment soon and getting our life together. Wayfinder has helped me in many ways, but the most of all it gave me hope for my babies ❤️. Thank you everybody in the Wayfinder Passages Program. You guys are all amazing people and make a huge difference in people's lives each day.