Our Scholars and Alumni

At our core, we are in the business of re-imagining futures – for the youth we serve, for their families, and for the broader community.  The Scholars selected by New Futures have overcome many obstacles to obtain a GED or high school diploma. With the help of New Futures, they are able to pursue their dreams of completing their post-secondary education programs and stepping into rewarding careers. Here are some of their remarkable stories.

Shahid Awel, Fall 2016
Business, Montgomery College

When Shahid was in middle school, she accompanied her father on a trip to visit the rural Ethiopian village where he had grown up. Shahid quickly noticed that the town lacked basic infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, libraries — and even electricity and water. Inspired by this visit, Shahid returned to Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital and her hometown, with a new sense of purpose: to open up a non-profit working to improve the quality of life for rural Ethiopians. Driven by this vision, Shahid excelled in her academics and took courses in high school that would help her accomplish her end-goal (such as Business and Economics). She moved to the United States in 2015 with the goal of studying Business. Shahid applied to New Futures in Fall 2016, and is currently in the Montgomery Scholars Honors Program, pursuing an Associate’s degree in Business at Montgomery College. To further her knowledge of the non-profit world, Shahid is also involved in various extracurricular activities that give her hands-on experience of non-profit affairs, such as fundraising.

Tariq Harrison, Fall 2016
Certification in Plumbing, ABC Construction

At the age of 17, Tariq left his hometown of Washington DC to pursue career technical training through the Keystone Job Corps in Drums, Pennsylvania. Within two months of starting his training, he receiving his GED and chose to pursue the vocational trade that he was most passionate about: plumbing. Tariq jokes that, “while my peers chose easy career paths, my path chose me.” After 11 months of learning all about plumbing, Tariq completed his pre-apprenticeship training and returned to Washington DC with the goal of working as a plumber. He completed an apprenticeship with a local union and gained valuable experience as a plumber’s helper. Tariq has been a New Futures Scholars since Fall 2016, and is currently pursuing a Plumbing Certificate through ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors) of Metro Washington. He’s never lost sight of his initial goal, and hopes to work as a plumber one day.

Jennifer Turcios, Spring 2017
Certification in Culinary Arts, Northern Virginia Community College

The moment that Jennifer stepped into her Culinary Arts class at Thomas Edison Academy in Franconia, VA, she knew that she had found her passion. As she learned the in’s and out’s of the culinary world — learning about difficult cooking techniques and how to prep dishes from all over the world — she realized that she had found her career path: she wanted to become a professional chef. “I love being able to express my creativity through dishes,” Jennifer says. “I see a dish as a way to bring a whole world into one plate.” Jennifer applied to New Futures in Spring 2017 and is currently pursuing a Culinary Arts certificate at Northern Virginia Community College, where she’s learning all about the restaurant world. Jennifer’s ultimate objective is to open up her own restaurant in the future, to expose others to different cultures through food.