A Career Path is Found

By Jessie Palmatier | April 25th,2018

In the October 2017 newsletter, we featured a story about a CareerBridge intern named Karyn Lee. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Karyn’s mother, Marjorie, who shared her perspective on Karyn’s story.

Karyn (left) with Caltrans supervisor Rocquel Johnson and fellow CareerBridge intern Amanda Farmer.

Before she connected with CareerBridge, Karyn was losing steam. Marjorie had watched her daughter struggle in school after Karyn’s father passed away and had tried everything she could think of to help Karyn get back on track. Nothing worked until Karyn made the decision for herself to get ahold of her life. When she did, Karyn made incredible progress with her independent studies and worked hard to earn her high school credits. But this past spring, Marjorie saw her daughter losing momentum and become discouraged, especially when she couldn’t find a job that would give her a chance to succeed.

Marjorie couldn’t bear to see Karyn give up again, so she contacted Margena Wade-Green, our director of CareerBridge. Marjorie explained, “Sometimes [kids] don’t listen to us—but they’ll listen to Miss Susie down the street.” Margena stepped in as “Miss Susie” and helped Karyn get a summer internship at Caltrans.

Marjorie saw that at Caltrans, Karyn not only gained job experience, but also received mentorship from several individuals who strengthened her connection with the community. Karyn excelled and enjoyed her summer—so much so that she sought out a more permanent internship after the summer ended. Marjorie was excited to report, “They’ve even said that, once she finishes and gets her degree, she’ll have a job. Come on, that’s pretty big! And she started because she was an intern with [CareerBridge].”

Marjorie thanked everyone involved, saying, “[Karyn]’s got a lot to offer, but she was very broken, so she didn’t have a traditional path. A lot of people had to pour into her.” Karyn’s story is unique, but she is not alone. There are many students like her who have plenty to offer and just need someone in their corner, opening up opportunities they may not have been able to access on their own. Children Rising is grateful to be able to serve so many students in this way, connecting them with mentors and job placements.