In high school, Devon Medina saw a lot of carelessness and lack of motivation in his school. The Northeast resident said it was difficult for him to care when his educators clearly didn’t, and he dropped out when he was in 11th grade.
“Before this, I didn’t really care about a lot,” he said. “I was walking around with a big question mark over my head.”
Now that Medina is enrolled in Project WOW, a course offered by JEVS Human Services, he’s found his motivation. Project WOW allows enrollees to pursue their GED while receiving 24 weeks of skills training. Medina is one of the first people to be enrolled in the program’s new IT track.
“Coming into here was a life-changing experience,” he said.
Since he was young, Medina was fascinated with finding out the way things worked. When he was a kid, he would fix his family’s washing machine, and when he was 13 he started picking apart phones and teaching himself how to fix them.
After dropping out of high school, Medina began the search for GED programs. He heard about Project WOW through his cousin. When he came to the school, the staff “really paid attention” to him, he said, finding where he was academic-wise and working from there to build his skills.
What Medina found there was a staff that cared and motivated their students.
“They grabbed me and put me on the right track,” he said. “They’re not even on me about anything anymore because they see I’m doing what I have to do.”
Torresdale resident Krista Daehling said the program also changed her life. She said the program helped her evaluate her own strengths and weaknesses, which will help her prepare for a career.
“I came from being an addict and being on the streets and it really changed my life,” she said. “I’ve never had a school that made me want to come every day and be comfortable being here.”
Medina is part of the first cohort to go through the IT track, which will conclude Dec. 21. Students receive a free SEPTA TransPass and a free weekly lunch. The school will also pay for the student’s GED. Beginning in the sixth week, students will receive weekly incentives of $25 or $50 based on attendance and participation.
Project WOW also offers a program in building trades.
The school is currently taking applications for a new cohort, which will begin Jan. 14. Applicants are encouraged to apply by Jan. 7. To apply, go here.
Project WOW and JEVS are hosted at Orleans Technical School at 2770 Red Lion Road. The school was recently named a school of distinction by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, which recognizes member schools that have demonstrated commitment to delivering quality educational programs to students, graduates and employers. ••