Aaron Chanthavong

Aaron Chanthavong

I am a stronger individual!

“The grass isn’t greener on the other side,” counsels Civicorps graduate Aaron Chanthavong. “It’s greener where you water it.”

Today, Aaron is enjoying the fruits of his hard work. He was recently promoted from intern to full-time staff at Tech Exchange, a nonprofit that provides digital equity to underserved Bay Area families and one of Civicorps’ key internship partners. He is excelling at Merritt College, where he is pursuing a degree in cyber security. He even makes time to volunteer by serving on the advisory board for DeAnza High School Tech Academy. Yet, only two years ago, Aaron’s ambition lay fallow as he worked dead-end jobs and wondered how he could pursue his dream of embarking on a career that would enable him to help his mother support the family.

In 2017, Aaron made the bold decision to advance his education at Civicorps. He chose Civicorps because it not only offered a high school diploma, rather than a GED or other equivalency, but it also offered intensive job training and robust wraparound services.

At first, Aaron felt like the odds were against him. “I dropped out of high school at age 16. It was a 5 year gap before I returned to school,” he says. “Growing up in a low-income family, none of my siblings made it past high school, so I thought high school was not the solution for me.” Yet, at Civicorps, Aaron found support, encouragement, and, most importantly, staff who believed he could achieve ambitious goals.

Aaron’s diligence, talent, and dedication to his goals made him a stand-out student at Civicorps. Aaron took full advantage of Civicorps’ array of services, and he especially credits his science classes for inspiring him to pursue a career in technology. His hard work paid off, and he graduated with honors in December 2018, after only a year in the program, the shortest time possible for students to earn their diploma.

Reflecting the impact of his time at Civicorps, Aaron says, “I became a stronger individual and they helped me see greater potential in myself.”