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  3. Video: Marlon Norman

Video: Marlon Norman

Innovative Collaborations to Improve Youth Outcomes: A Federal, State, and Local Dialogue


My name is Marlon Norman, I'm a graduate from ARCH training center, and that's where I received my GED and my NCCER, which is National Center for Construction, Education, and Research. And I left out of school at the beginning of the 11th grade year, and it was about two years before I decided to study at ARCH. I worked for a temporary agency in the meantime; I was a leasing consultant.

I liked it a lot, but since it was a temporary job and I didn't have my GED, they couldn't hire me. They wanted to, but I couldn't get the job because I didn't have my GED. So I enrolled at ARCH, first I earned my GED, which took about 10 months. Next I enrolled into the skills class to learn competency trade, which is the NCCER.

I've been enrolled in an afterschool photography class offered at the ARCH training center for well over a year now.

I was really excited to assist the instructor with installing shows, helping with students, assisting in the dark room, and learning as much as I could about photography. The difference with this photo class is that it let me be more creative, it's more entertaining, and I find it a lot easier to stay involved since it is such a hands on experience.

I've put in many hours at the Honfleur Floor Gallery, which is a project of ARCH Development Corporation. I have been in three student shows and I will be curating and showing in the next student show for DC photo week in November. This show is entitled Eco-Action Reaction; it's an environmentally based show in which I was able to work with and instruct with the help of my photography instructor, new and aspiring photography students in the art of visual storytelling with a camera. All of these accomplishments have led to an internship position with ARCH Development Corporation, which then led to a full-time position as an assistant lab technician of Vivid Solutions, DC.

I had made some major personal accomplishments in the last two years. Two of the student shows made it to local newspapers here in Washington, DC. Those two student shows were probably the best experiences I have ever encountered. I have even had my work displayed in a group show in Paris, and the annual Easterly River exhibit at the Harm Floor Gallery. I have been able to sell some of my framed photographs through these exhibitions. I have also been able to meet some inspiring world class photographers throughout this time. I met photographers from France, California, New York, and they all came to our student shows and commented and some even bought some of our work, so that was really, really nice. They also took me under their wing and one of the artists offered to give me her camera after meeting me at an exhibition and hearing my story. This was my first professional digital camera, which I had been saving money to buy, and it would allow me to develop my skill in photography. The fact that your work is displayed, people actually come to view, comment and acknowledge your work is truly an experience I won't forget.

Youth Briefs

How Individualized Education Program (IEP) Transition Planning Makes a Difference for Youth with Disabilities

Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.

Youth Transitioning to Adulthood: How Holding Early Leadership Positions Can Make a Difference

Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people

How Trained Service Professionals and Self-Advocacy Makes a Difference for Youth with Mental Health, Substance Abuse, or Co-occurring Issues

Statistics reflecting the number of youth suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders highlight the necessity for schools, families, support staff, and communities to work together to develop targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive transition plans for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse.

Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care: Challenges and Solutions

Nearly 30,000 youth aged out of foster care in Fiscal Year 2009, which represents nine percent of the young people involved in the foster care system that year. This transition can be challenging for youth, especially youth who have grown up in the child welfare system.

Coordinating Systems to Support Transition Age Youth with Mental Health Needs

Research has demonstrated that as many as one in five children/youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Read about how coordination between public service agencies can improve treatment for these youth.

Civic Engagement Strategies for Transition Age Youth

Civic engagement has the potential to empower young adults, increase their self-determination, and give them the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the workforce. Read about one youth’s experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).