Ella graduated in December and is working at Community Cats of Palm Coast in the RTS Paid Internship Program.
by: Julia Ambrose
Road to Success has many success stories. In fact, it has twice as many as it used to have.
Ella Thompson is one of more than 50 students each year, up from 25 in 2012, who benefit from the small class sizes and supportive environment at RTS, a federally funded youth program that helps 16- to 24-year-olds who exited from high school to earn their general education diploma, at the George Washington Carver Community Center, in Bunnell. With support from Flagler Schools and the George Washington Carver Foundation, RTS is contracted with Career Source Flagler Volusia and has graduated 278 students with a GED since 2012.
In addition to its many supporters, RTS has frequent guest presentations sharing information on domestic abuse, nutrition, banking and college readiness.
When first entering RTS, Thompson felt she was in a bad state, learning behind a screen in quarantine during the pandemic. She trusted the staff of RTS to get her back on track and individualize her learning.
Director Brian Willard, who has been with the program since the beginning, has adopted the slogan “Hands up, not hands out,” to illustrate that RTS lifts students up to tap into their full potential, just like it helped Thompson. She graduated in December 2021 with her GED and now has an internship with Community Cats of Palm Coast with the RTS Paid Internship Program. She is happier than ever and forever grateful for the RTS experience, she said.