Jessica’s story

At age 19, Jessica Liriano enrolled in a GED prep class at WASI partner agency New Heights Neighborhood Center. Says Jessica, "I was living on my own; I was depressed, not in school, and without my GED."

CSS Case Manager Shaista Qazi, left, with Jessica Liriano.

Keeping the Door to Success Open

At New Heights, she met and received an intake assessment from CSS Case Manager Shaista Qazi, who was assigned to New Heights through WASI. But three months later, Jessica left New Heights--before taking the GED. Immediate financial challenges coupled with long hours working at a pharmacy took precedence over studying.

Shaista stayed in touch, calling Jessica to offer encouragement and helping her apply for food stamps. Meanwhile, Jessica improved her resume writing skills with New Heights' Workforce Manager. The result? Nearly one year after first encountering WASI and New Heights, Jessica found the courage to again take the GED test. Not only did she pass, but her scores were high enough to qualify for acceptance at a four-year college. Jessica's future is now about connection: to work and to school. And Shaista will stay connected to Jessica, just in case any other obstacles arise.

"At WASI, no case is ever 'inactive' before a client's goals are met. We stay patient and connected, and try to help," says Shaista Qazi.