How Youth Educational Services (YES) helps an immigrant student

Seventeen-year-old Tai is one of Taking the Reins’ most involved members. She came to the program looking for a chance to spend time with horses as she adjusted to life in America. Tai and her immediate family moved here just over four years ago from Russia. When a staff member at her school suggested she spend time at local nonprofit, Taking the Reins, she could have never imagined the impact this decision to “say yes” would have on her life.  

It may be surprising to learn that this same girl is completing her first year of junior college and preparing to begin the process of getting her real estate license. Her schooling in Russia put her one year ahead of the American school system, meaning she was teed-up to graduate a year earlier than her peers. With many thanks to Taking the Reins program Youth Education Services (YES), she was able to accomplish this goal. 

“YES helped me not give up on my dream of finishing high school early and taught me that I want to attend college,” she shared. “YES staff and volunteers have opened my eyes to many different opportunities. I look to them for advice often.” 

Tai also credits YES and TTR with being the reasons she wants to pursue a career in real estate. As she completes the training and testing necessary to receive a California real estate license, she will also be working hard on her studies at Glendale Community College so that she can finish within two years and move on to a four-year university. At this time, Tai is planning to get her bachelor’s degree in business management; however, also thanks to YES, she knows it’s important to keep your mind open to different pathways. 

“I have changed my mind many times about what I want to do,” Tai said. “I am grateful to TTR for showing me so many options. Through YES, I learned that college would be a great option for my future.” 

YES and Taking the Reins hosted a career fair recently, which Tai said was very impactful. According to her, at this event she looked inward to assess her values and goals. This is the same event where she said her interest in real estate was ignited. Along with events like the career fair, Tai was also eager to highlight the other benefits of YES, like tutoring, job application help, and other things. Tai’s involvement with YES has become a family affair, as her mother serves as one of the math tutors. 

Tai’s multifaceted experience with Taking the Reins shows the influence of the organization at a whole. YES has undoubtedly made a lasting, meaningful impact on the trajectory of her personal and professional life.  

Taking the Reins is excited to see how Tai’s journey with them continues to unfold. Looking forward, they know she will be an alumna who speaks to the profound impact of their program, its services and its people.