Darismely Caraballo (center) participating in a group activity with classmates at LEAD Charter School.

(February 25, 2021) When Darismely Caraballo, an 18-year-old first generation Dominican American from Newark decided to go back to school and earn her High School Equivalency (GED), she knew that a traditional school wasn’t the right option. Like other high school dropouts, Darismely didn’t excel in public school because it lacked the extra care and attention she needed to overcome her challenges. After doing some research online, Darismely found La Casa de Don Pedro’s LEAD Charter School program, an alternative high school for out-of-school Newark youth. LEAD prepares students ages 16-24 to achieve a High School Equivalency degree and connects them with post-secondary education, vocational training, and the workforce.

Darismely quickly found the support system she so desperately needed at LEAD. It provided an opportunity to make a deep connection with her teachers that made learning fun and interesting. Not only did she finally enjoy school, she also found the motivation and support to push herself to graduate. In December of 2019, Darismely proudly finished her education at LEAD and earned her High School Equivalency certificate.

However, Darismely’s relationship with La Casa de Don Pedro was far from over. Her accomplishments, along with the support from La Casa’s staff, helped inspire her to continue her education. La Casa’s Career Counselor Coraly Perez helped Darismely transition into a post-secondary training program with Per Scholas, a tuition-free tech training program. Caraballo is currently working towards her CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications, which will empower her to obtained a salaried position in IT Support with plenty of opportunities for growth.

Through partnerships with organizations like LEAD Charter School and Per Scholas, La Casa de Don Pedro provides Newark youth with the support and resources they need to finish their education and find a quality career path. Coraly adds, “We expose our young people to higher education by bringing in presenters to provide informational sessions every week. We also encourage young people to develop the college-ready skills of accessing resources, finding the people that will help them be successful, and finding support in their community, so they have experience with these skills by the time they enter trade school, college or employment.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *