Hi everyone! I’m Shay, a West Dallas resident and one of the Fellows from the SWD Middle-Skills Pathways in Healthcare initiative that’s a collaboration between Serve West Dallas, Baylor University Medical Center, and many other organizations. I want to share a little bit about me so that you can have an idea of what transformation in West Dallas looks like.

My story is not unlike a lot of the people here in West Dallas. I graduated from Pinkston, then went off to college but came back home without a degree. I ended up a little down because I didn’t know what I was going to do. Then Ms. Anita Odom with Young Life West Dallas gave me a call. She told me about the Pathways program and I’ve got to admit…I was EXCITED and nervous. This is the type of chance I needed to get my life back on track.

So I went to the orientation hosted at Mercy Street and started the training program that was provided by Anthem Strong Families. It was a little intimidating. I learned about how to deal with life issues in more positive ways and had to fight through some personal challenges in order to stick with it. And then I had to take the CPR test for Baylor in order to complete the pre-work for employment.

WOW!! The day I found out I passed I was so relieved.

And then, we found out that when we were hired we have benefits. Real benefits. A full-time job with benefits. Wow. This doesn’t just happen for us, young people in West Dallas that are uncertain of their direction. To have the opportunity to prove myself, work hard, get trained, deal with some of my issues, and be put on a career path that can lead to better pay and benefits is just so awesome to me. Can’t believe it.

AND then…the cherry on top. You guys gave me the opportunity to share my story with the Dallas City Council. I was so nervous. I got to share how this opportunity has impacted me and the potential to impact so many lives in West Dallas. We NEED chances like this. We have it in us. But we need those services that wrap-around us and help us to understand how to successfully do the work that is required.

I want to share with you my story because I’m just one example of the hopefully hundreds that will successfully complete this program. And I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for believing in us even before you even met us. Thank you for supporting the work of Serve West Dallas. Thank you for seeing value in the work here in West Dallas and investing in our future.

I hope you’ll take a few moments to watch this video of my presentation to the Council.Thank you!

Pathways Donors:

The Carpenter Family Foundation
Communities Foundation of Texas
The Rowling Family Foundation
Ray and Denise Nixon
Jeff and Ann Swope
Scott & Carole Turpin
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas