GED program: ‘I needed to expect more from myself’

A few of the 37 students who earned their GEDs from Multi-Service Center last year were honored on Jan. 27, 2013. - Courtesy photo
A few of the 37 students who earned their GEDs from Multi-Service Center last year were honored on Jan. 27, 2013.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

In the summer before his senior year of high school, Jeffery Mitchell, now 22, moved with his family to the Puget Sound area.

When he enrolled at his new school, he learned that most of his credits from school in Michigan would not transfer here.

“It was like I needed to do all four years over,” he said. “I was depressed that I wouldn’t graduate on time. I mean, I’m a bright person, but I was failing.”

He walked away from school, and turned to alcohol and drugs instead. It took a couple of trips to jail for Jeffrey to see a future he did not want for himself.

Instead, he took a different path, and turned to Multi-Service Center. There, he enrolled in the agency’s Out of School Youth program, funded by Workforce Investment Act money.

Once he was ready to knuckle down, it took Jeffery only one month to earn his GED.

“This program has really built my self-confidence,” he said. “I was expected to want to do good for myself, and I did.”

Jeffery is one of 37 students of all ages who received their GED this past year through Multi-Service Center. He and the other graduates were celebrated in the agency’s largest-ever graduation event on Jan. 17.

Multi-Service Center’s GED preparation program is taught by volunteer tutors and staff. Because classes are small, each student can work at his or her own pace while also receiving individualized help from tutors. This personalized attention can often be the critical difference for students who struggle in the more typical large classrooms of public high school.

The additional case management makes a positive difference for students too, giving them support and encouragement to get through their struggles.

“(My case manager) didn’t tell me what to do, but she was there for me in so many ways,” Jeffery said. “She helped me see that I needed to expect more from myself.”

Now Jeffery is trying to set a positive example for his younger siblings. “I want them to see it’s never too late to do the right thing,” he said.

Learn more

To learn more about Multi-Service Center’s education programs, visit


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