South Bronx Job Corps Staff Make Deep Impact in One Young Lady’s Life

South Bronx Job Corps Staff Make Deep Impact in One Young Lady’s Life

Leona Graddy
Leona Graddy

Leona Graddy decided to follow in the footsteps of her two older siblings—both of whom attended Job Corps. But as you’ll read below, it wasn’t an easy transition, and it wasn’t for Job Corps employees, she likely would not have completed the program.

As a youth growing up in Tampa, Florida, Leona was very active in sports including basketball, baseball, soccer, and cheerleading. But after high school, she lacked direction in life. She ended up moving to New York with her mother and grandmother. It was there that she decided to attend the South Bronx Job Corps Center.

“Enrollment was quick in easy,” says Leona. “I was so ready for a new beginning.”

Ineke Murray

Leona enrolled in the clinical medical assistant (CMA) program. She wasn’t so sure about the field. But one of her favorite teachers, Ineke Murray, who is in career preparation, encourage her to give it a chance.

She did. But it still wasn’t clicking. Then, her CMA instructor, Megan Jusino (former instructor), stepped in to help. Leona says she wanted to quit so many times, but Megan encouraged her to keep going.

and Ineke played a pivotal role in Leona’s growth at Job Corps.

“I’m so grateful,” says Leona “to have these two teachers on my side leading me in the right direction.”

However, it would get worse before it got better. The pandemic really took a toll on Leona.

Things were different,” she adds, “we all had to adjust with the way school was, we lost some teachers and gained new ones.”

Leona began struggling with the exams. But a new instructor, Ivelisse Saunders, was right there to help.

“She really played a huge part in my journey at Job Corps, and I couldn’t have done it without her. I’m very thankful for them all.”

Leona obtained a high school diploma, EKG certification, and clinical medical assistant certification. She’s excited to start a new job at the local hospital in her new hometown of Reading, PA.

“I thank everyone who was with me throughout my journey. I appreciate every single one of them. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.”