Interested in being a part of the SEAT Center? Learn more about the success and achievements of our students by reading some of their stories and overall experience through the program.

LAMAUN GARY

Age: 26
Education: Dropped out of Schenectady High School
Current Job: Owner, Care N Errands

‘BROUGHT ME BACK TO LIFE’

Lamaun Gary was 17 years old when his son was born. The year was 2009, and he dropped out of high school to focus on being a father. The moment he turned 18 and became eligible, he showed up to YouthBuild, a program in Schenectady that helps people complete their high school education and access career training.

Now, Gary operates his own business running errands for executives. He employs five workers with clients from Syracuse to Ne·w York City. His experience at YouthBuild was the turning point that led him to a career.

“Being around the different mentors and teachers and …. people who were similar in your background and seeing them accomplish small things, it gives you that confidence that you can do it also.”

At YouthBuild,. he didn’t feel like an outsider as he did in high sChool, ·where he felt stigmatized after spending 18 months in a detention center.

”YouthBuild actually just brought me back to life, and I realized that I’m no different than the kids who were at the high school,” he said. 

SHAWNYCE FENNELL

Age: 19
Education: Dropped out of Schenectady High School
Current Job: Business office at Mohawk Ambulance, part time

MORE THAN JUST ACADEMICS

Shawnyce Fennell got used to telling a white lie when she walked her younger cousins to school. “Are you going to school after this?” they asked. She would tell them yes, even after she dropped out of Schenectady High School in her senior year. It stopped being a lie when she showed up one day in a new uniform, this time for a math bootcamp at the Social Enterprise and Training Center.

‘The bootcamp steered Fennell, 19, on a path to a high school equivalency diploma and a part-time office job at Mohawk. Ambulance, where she•s poised to move into a full-time role. Sh,e credits much of her current success to the program at SEAT.

“SEAT wasn’t just all academics. They had a career path, too. They showed me, college too, is your career path, and you don’t have to go just academics,” she said.

Her new employer is excited she found Fennell through the job ­training program. “She’s dependable, she’s responsible, and she clearly enjoys what she does. I think she’s found her niche,” said Wendy Becofski, business office manager at Mohawk Ambulance.