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 Everyone Has A Story

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Some people can recall the exact moment their lives changed forever. The horrific accident. The physical or emotional abuse. Poverty, homelessness, abandonment. Prevalence of mental health issues, addiction, or both, at home. Parental separation or divorce. Loss of a loved one. Being bullied because of a learning disability. The moment when one’s innocence was taken. Others can’t remember a time when their lives weren’t marked by trauma, abuse, or neglect.


It’s known amongst the medical community that trauma causes negative and long-lasting effects on the brain and our neural pathways, underlying the need to help people move forward from such traumatic incidences. As a critical component to economic mobility and prosperity, there have to be initiatives in place that promote resilience for anyone who experienced childhood trauma.


A goal of the Jennings O’Neil Career Academy is to ensure that our program, with a collaborative team of partners and support services, works to increase a student’s self-esteem and instill a positive sense of self-worth. We can do this by assisting students to set achievable goals or dreams for the future that provide a sense of meaning to a student’s life. The Academy offers tangible pathways toward achieving aspirations and demonstrating to every student that their contribution is vital to the success of our community. This will be achieved by the student gaining marketable career skills and assistance to secure jobs. They can earn equitable market wages, access economic and career mobility, and secure jobs where they can earn equitable market wages, access economic and career mobility, and have a better quality of life.


The name of the career academy, Jennings O’Neil, was carefully chosen in honor of the founders’ younger versions of themselves. The husband and wife team, personal stories are highlighted by very painful and traumatic experiences that occurred during their childhood years. As adults, they realize that childhood trauma and maltreatment have the capacity to disrupt healthy development during adolescence and early adulthood and put the affected individual at risk for economic difficulties later in life. It is because of their personal stories that they embarked on this journey to empower the next generation.

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