The inspiring story of a pioneering program that is redefining urban young adults as economic assets, not deficits
During Gerald Chertavian’s many years as a Big Brother, the former technology entrepreneur realized that our nation’s "Opportunity Divide" strands millions of young, disadvantaged, yet motivated workers at the bottom of the job ladder. In 2000, Chertavian dedicated his life to closing that divide and Year Up was born.
Year Up is an intensive program that offers low income young adults training, mentorship, internships, and ultimately real jobs—often with Fortune 500 companies. 85 percent of program graduates are employed or in full-time college within four months of graduation. Today, Year Up serves more than 1,300 students in nine cities across the nation.
Following a Year Up class from admissions through graduation, A Year Up lets students share—in their own words—the challenges, failures, and personal successes they’ve experienced during their program year. This deeply moving and inspirational story also explains Chertavian’s philosophy and the program’s genesis, offering a road map for real change in our country and a beacon for young adults who want the opportunity to enter the economic mainstream.
This is the story of two young people from completely different worlds: Kennedy Odede from Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, and Jessica Posner from Denver, Colorado. Kennedy foraged for food, lived on the street, and taught himself to read with old newspapers. When an American volunteer gave him the work of Mandela, Garvey, and King, teenaged Kennedy decided he was going to change his life and his community. He bought a soccer ball and started a youth empowerment group he called Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). Then in 2007, Wesleyan undergraduate Jessica Posner spent a semester abroad in Kenya working with SHOFCO. Breaking all convention, she decided to live in Kibera with Kennedy, and they fell in love.Their connection persisted, and Jessica helped Kennedy to escape political violence and fulfill his lifelong dream of an education, at Wesleyan University.
The alchemy of their remarkable union has drawn the support of community members and celebrities alike—The Clintons, Mia Farrow, and Nicholas Kristof are among their fans—and their work has changed the lives of many of Kibera’s most vulnerable population: its girls. Jess and Kennedy founded Kibera’s first tuition-free school for girls, a large, bright blue building, which stands as a bastion of hope in what once felt like a hopeless place. But Jessica and Kennedy are just getting started—they have expanded their model to connect essential services like health care, clean water, and economic empowerment programs. They’ve opened an identical project in Mathare, Kenya’s second largest slum, and intend to expand their remarkably successful program for change.
Ultimately this is a love story about a fight against poverty and hopelessness, the transformation made possible by a true love, and the power of young people to have a deep impact on the world.
For more than twenty years, The Academic Job Search Handbook has assisted job seekers in all academic disciplines in the search for faculty positions at different kinds of institutions from research-focused universities to community colleges. Current faculty who used the book themselves recommend it to their own students and postdocs. The many new first-person narratives provide insight into issues and situations candidates may encounter such as applying for an international job, combining parenting with an academic career, going from an administrative job to a faculty position, and seeking faculty positions as a same-sex couple.