Mobile Youth Works Program
Jessica Haugton’s story is an inspiring one and proves the success of persistence despite obstacles. It is also very courageous of her to share it with others, but she does it to inspire others facing similar difficulties to work hard to overcome them.
Haughton, just 19 years old, is a single parent with 2 small children and her education was limited to the 6th grade—her last complete year in school—through no fault of her own. In her 7th grade year, Haughton was attending Scarborough Middle School and was a Straight A student. That year she had a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed as a Paranoid Schizophrenic. On her doctor’s orders, she withdrew from school for her health. She tried to return to school for what would have been her 8th grade year, but she had to withdraw because she again had a breakdown.
For the next three years, Haughton was placed in two different facilities to try to get full-time help from psychiatrists specializing in her mental disorder, but nothing made a difference. Then Haughton finally got on the right medications to control her Paranoid Schizophrenia and that made the difference, along with continuing to see a psychiatrist on an out-patient basis. According to Haughton, “Life was great! I was finally stable and I could finally start thinking about going back to school.”
But first Haughton had to get her GED. She went to the Career Link for Youth program and worked hard every day, showing the determination to succeed by obtaining her GED in only 3 months, in August 2005. Not only that, but she was a leader in the program. She credits Mike Davis and the rest of the Career Link for Youth staff with “helping me so much because although they knew about my disability, they treated me just like everyone else. I had tried other programs with no success. Their attitude at Career Link for Youth is what made the difference for me.”
Haughton is currently enrolled on a free scholarship at Bishop State as a 1st year college freshman and taking advanced classes—all of which she qualified for by scoring high on the Compass Test (similar to the SAT test). Haughton is majoring in education and plans to attend the University of South Alabama after she graduates from Bishop State, where she will major in elementary education. She also thanks her family for standing by her for so many years and for the continual love and emotional and financial support they showed her while she strived to get better.
According to Haughton, “My family and Career Link for Youth helped me so much, but I also had to find my self-esteem after my extended illness and learn that I was a strong person to live through all those problems and all that heartache. It takes outside help but also personal resolve to get through what I’ve been through. I hope my story can inspire someone else.” At Mobile Works, we are certain Jessica Haughton’s story will inspire many people, and we are proud to have played a part in her success.