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Valley non-profit helps young adults achieve academic and career success

Posted: 9:51 PM, Nov 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-22 00:58:45-05

In a time of giving thanks, some young adults in the Valley are grateful for opportunity and an education.

With the help of a non-profit, a group has worked hard to achieve their career goals and overcome tough situations.

Just a few years out of high school Juan Bustamante is reveling in the freedom that comes with 1800 square feet.

"My name is on that deed," Bustamante said. "That's when it feels pretty good."

Now, just in time for the holiday, after a lifetime of renting, his parents and five younger siblings will make this house a home.

"I don't think it's home until I see my mom's dishes and forks and stuff and until I see food on the table," Bustamante said.

It's an accomplishment that once seemed out of reach. As a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) student with limited funds, Bustamante struggled to find a path to higher education, until he applied to Year Up Arizona and pursued their cybersecurity track.

"We say that you need the degree to get the job, yet some people need the job to get the degree," said Kim Owens, founding executive director of Year Up Arizona.

The nonprofit works with young adults ages 18-24. Their yearlong program includes hands-on learning, technical training and internships at big-name companies.

"We're really talking about changing a community. When you see young people come back, finding success and realizing that they have dreams, they just need a runway to achieve them," said Owens.

Bustamante's internship at GoDaddy is now a full-time job. He is also taking college courses while his younger sister pursues the Year Up Arizona program. So while the rooms may still be a bit empty, this family's future is full.

"Falling asleep here with no mattress, no nothing, it still feels good," said Bustamante.

Year Up Arizona is actively enrolling students for a class set to start in early 2019. For more information click here.