My name is Shafik and I’m from Camden, NJ. I found out about Hopeworks ‘N Camden in 2014 through my father. He thought it would be a good idea for me to attend Hopeworks, so that I could get my high school diploma and learn computer skills. I had dropped out of school in the 8th grade due to my living situation and for personal reasons. From the ages of 14 to 18, I had attended different programs that assisted in helping me with obtaining my GED, but each time I failed to complete the programs. I felt pressured into maturing faster than most teenagers my age, because of my environment and peers.
From my first day attending Hopeworks, I have felt very welcomed. The staff really takes the time to help me reach my goals. The atmosphere is centered around the progress of the trainee and is self paced, which to me is a new concept. They take the time out, step by step, to help with whatever problems you are facing, whether they are personal problems or problems related to the training. I attended Hopeworks twice, the first time was for about 5 weeks. I left because I moved to Philadelphia, but I also feared failing to complete the program.
I lived in Philadelphia for about 2 ½ years. I moved there when I was 19 to avoid getting into trouble in Camden, but it seemed that trouble followed me. I kept getting into trouble in Philadelphia. I did odd jobs to support myself while living in Philly and ended up moving back to Camden in mid 2016 to attend Hopeworks again. This time, I completed the program. Hopeworks helped me get my high school diploma and an internship in GIS – all in the first week of the new year!
Now that I completed my training at Hopeworks, and earned my High School Diploma, I feel great about myself. I landed an internship with Hopeworks in the GIS Department in 2017 and feel like I have accomplished a big thing in my life. Here at Hopeworks, I learned not only computer skills, but also how to value the importance of education and networking. My goals now that I obtained my high school diploma and an internship, are to further my education and pursue a career in Aquaponics and Engineering.