As she prepares to graduate from Potomac High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Chlo’e Gadson can remember the first time she heard of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. Six years ago, as a middle school student, she was encouraged to join the program by a HW-SC Youth Advocate who recognized her potential.

“Those after-school sessions would lead the way to my success through middle school and high school,” she recalls. “Hillside shaped me into the person I am today.”

True to the program’s name, HW-SC Youth Advocates form connections with participating students that provide support and guidance—especially in partnership with teachers, school staff, family members and employer partners. The results of those connections are seen every year, when students like Chlo’e walk across the stage to receive their well-deserved high school diplomas.

“These aren’t just regular people,” Chlo’e says of the YAs with whom she bonded during her time in the program. “They love what they do, and they genuinely care about the students. They helped me grow as a person, and helped me with my resume for jobs. Thanks to them I stayed on top of my school work, and I look at the bigger picture outside of school. I visited colleges, and learned to balance my school work with my extra-curricular activities.

“Sometimes students don’t have that support system that they need,” she adds, “but without Hillside, I honestly don’t know who or where I would be.”

After she collects her diploma, Chlo’e will head to Towson University to pursue a degree in Psychology. “It’s kind of bittersweet knowing that this is my last year with Hillside. Joining this program is a decision I will never regret.”

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