Over twenty years ago, Wilfreid Plalum found himself in the right place at the right time. He was 20 years old, and had just arrived in Maine with his family from South Sudan. “I was playing soccer with some friends across the street from LearningWorks, when two staff people stopped over and informed us of a new program at LearningWorks called Youth Building Alternatives (YBA).”
Youth Building Alternatives provides an integrated academic and occupational skills curriculum for young people who are not enrolled in school and are also unemployed.
Wilfreid recalls, “I knew that getting my GED was very important to be successful in America so I immediately signed up!”
After spending a year at YBA, Wilfreid received his degree, which enabled him to keep going further with his education. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maine and become deeply involved in the community. He is part of the World Affairs Council of Maine, serves as a translator for Catholic Charities, and is involved with the Camden Conference, an annual gathering in Maine which fosters discourse on world issues.
Even 22 years after landing at LearningWorks, Wilfreid is passionate about continuing his education. He’s currently preparing to go back to school for an advanced degree and hopes to teach at the college level within a few years.
Reflecting back on his experience at LearningWorks, Wilfreid is grateful that his path crossed with those two instructors while playing soccer. “I credit LearningWorks for the help and support in getting my GED and the mentoring support throughout the years. I am grateful to the staff whose work continues to shine beyond LearningWorks and into the lives of many.”