In my work with young adults in the Job Corps program, I’ve become well-aware of the disparities among our young people. While some are born into families with supportive, stable, loving parents, others aren’t so lucky. Those young adults not only have to work harder to obtain the opportunities they need to make a better life for themselves, but they must have the grit to actually take advantage of those opportunities. I’ve worked close enough with my students to have seen how hard this can truly be, but also to have seen the incredible payoffs.

Destiny Jackson has that kind of grit. Destiny grew up in Philadelphia, spending her younger years in an abusive home. She ran away when she was thirteen and spend the rest of her youth couch-surfing, living in homeless shelters and with foster families. As an older foster child, adoption into a permanent home was unlikely, but Destiny focused on school and nurturing her own fierce spirit. She didn’t always have straight A’s, but she made sure she was involved in student government and many other extra-curricular activities.

Destiny with Keevon Johnson, Director of Youth Emergency Services

She also took advantage of the opportunities and help offered through organizations such as the Youth Emergencies Shelter and New Opportunities More Opportunities, which offers support and resources for at-risk youth. Sometimes you have to create your opportunities, but the tougher thing can often be taking advantage of opportunities you’re given. Destiny made sure to take advantage of the support she was provided by these organizations, as well as her foster family and her school.

Destiny graduates this spring and has been accepted to fifty-six colleges and universities. She’s planning to attend Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women, located in Atlanta. She’s busy raising money to pay her tuition, and her gofundme site is here:

Congratulations to Destiny. These are the kind of people we need to help meet the many challenges our country faces right now.

If you’d like to read the full article in The Philadelphia Enquirer, follow this link:


    • Jane Marquardt

    • 3 years ago

    Love your blog Naomi! Is there a way to follow it so I get an email notice when you post a new article? Jane

      • Naomi Ulsted

      • 3 years ago

      Thanks for commenting!! I’m sure there is, but I’ll need to check with my IT Guru (my brother) to figure out how to do it.

    • Danny Gerald Stoddard

    • 3 years ago

    56!!! that’s just wonderful.

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