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Written by Victoria Baessa, TRA-New Bedford Youth Instructor/Case Manager

Kristy Gonzalez started the Young Parents Program on April 16, 2013. At the time, she was a mother of one, and struggling with all aspects of her life. Between living in a shelter and trying to provide for her first child, school was not on the top of her list. She eventually stopped attending the Young Parents Program in December of 2013.

In 2014, Kristy was blessed with a set of twins. She realized that in order to make a better life for herself and her children, she had to complete school. She reenrolled in the Young Parents Program in January of 2015. During her second time at TRA, Kristy had a new head on her shoulders and was ready to take the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). Little did she know that she was going to meet her best friend!

Valerie Mejias, a mother of two, started the Young Parents Program in April of 2015. She was a very quiet student who enjoyed school and working independently. However, during group activities, she started working with Kristy, and they eventually becoming best friends.

As the year went on, both students pushed each other to pursue their High School Equivalency Diploma. Each held the other accountable for showing up to class and being positive mentors for one another in everyday life.

Valerie received her High School Equivalency Diploma (HiSED) on December 23, 2015. But, she did not stop there. She made sure to come to class to help Kristy to pass her last HiSET test. And Kristy eventually received her HiSED on January 29, 2016.

After receiving their HiSEDs, they both enrolled in LifeStream, a program that certifies people to become nursing assistants. They started this past February and still attend. Both of them love the fact that they are training in a career they’re passionate about, and they both cannot thank each other enough for not giving up on each other. Valerie and Kristy prove that you can find friendship even when you least expect it…and that you can succeed at anything, especially with a best friend’s support!

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