“Boys Hope Girls Hope influences every decision I make today."
Micarah Young graduated at the top of her class with a degree in nursing from Georgia State University this month. In July, she’ll start her career as an Intensive Care Unit nurse at WellStar Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta’s inner-city in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
At age 12, Micarah’s father was killed due to gun violence. Her mother was struggling to make ends meet and raise her spirited and brilliant daughter. Recognizing that Micarah had finished 6th grade algebra the first month of the school year and that she and her mother had a lot of struggles, her elementary school principal referred her to the program. “My Mom wanted us on the right path, but she didn’t have the education herself,” Micarah said. “She didn’t have much.”
Boys Hope Girls Hope, Micarah says, helped her to develop a disciplined and purposeful life. “I hated it at first, but the structure was very important for me.” Micarah appreciates that she was able to attend a Catholic school that helped her to grow in her faith. “Boys Hope Girls Hope influences every decision I make today. I learned everything from financial literacy to interview skills to etiquette. It gave me a big jump on everyone my age.”
Micarah said she benefited from connecting with the network of people who have been a part of Boys Hope Girls Hope for many years. Now that she’s a young adult, paying her own bills, Micarah said she’s “forever indebted” to the people who invested in her and the other girls, so they could become mature, grown women, women for others.” The Boys Hope Girls Hope of Pittsburgh leadership, Tom Wiese, Executive Director, and Jen Heid, Program Director, who Micarah met when she first visited the program twelve years ago “are like second and third parents to me,” she said. “They did things for me that went way beyond any job description.”
In describing Micarah, Jen Heid said, “Micarah is very driven and determined. Even with the challenges along the way, she never took her eyes off of her goals. She is one of the most hard-working people I know. I have no idea how she was able to work full time and be in school full time and earn the grades that she did. She is a leader and has a lot of influence, people watch what she does and try to emulate her.”
Micarah’s mother was inspired by her daughter’s example. When Micarah joined Boys Hope Girls Hope, her mother decided to pursue her own education. On family visit weekends, Micarah and her mother would go to the public library, or sometimes to Starbucks, and study together all day. Micarah applied for 25 scholarship per month her senior year of high school and was able to get her entire college tuition covered.
Micarah’s mother graduated from college in 2014 and Micarah graduated from high school in 2015. Micarah’s mother now has a degree in computer science. After Micarah went to college, her mother saved money to travel to Ghana and still spends time there helping people in need.
In describing the opportunity she’s stepping into, Micarah said, “It’s in a tough neighborhood like the area I come from in Pittsburgh. Many of the patients are homeless and minorities. It will give me a great opportunity to serve, give back and become a really good nurse. Everyone needs taking care of and I can step into that role.”
Micarah’s advice for younger scholars is to take advantage of every opportunity they are given, “whether it’s tutoring, driving lessons or just time with people you meet.” She said, “Your world opens up tremendously at Boys Hope Girls Hope and you get to determine your path.”
Boys Hope Girls Hope of Pittsburgh recently changed its name as the program will open its first home for boys this summer. When Micarah was in the program, it was known as Girls Hope of Pittsburgh.
Pictured in photos from top to bottom: 1. Micarah, her siblings and her mother at her high school graduation in 2015 2. Micarah and her mother in 2012 3. Micarah with Jen Heid, Program Director of BHGH Pittsburgh at her Middle school graduation in 2011