Yusuf’s Bridge to Success


“I needed a change in my life.” This same thought has crossed most everyone’s mind.

For Yusuf, it was a life change he couldn’t have imagined, and it was only possible because of his determination, coupled with the programs and resources available at BakerRipley, as well as economic initiatives made possible by our donors, partners, and employees.

“I was a behavior support specialist at a mental health facility for teenagers,” recalls Yusuf, a local Houstonian. His tone expresses the challenges he must have faced every day. “It was hard work. I’m not gonna lie. After a while, it just started pulling me down.”

But Yusuf wasn’t a stranger to tough times. He was born and raised in Houston. It was just Yusuf, his brothers, and their single mother. You can imagine the challenges faced by a growing family in these circumstances.

It was at this point in Yusuf’s career that he knew he needed a change. “I was at a down point in my life,” he said, and then he discovered a new opportunity.

Yusuf's new path

“One of my friends was in a BakerRipley tech program, and he was talking about what it did for him and his life.”

BakerRipley adult education and career advancement services serve thousands of Houston neighbors. These programs change lives every day, as Yusuf was about to learn first-hand.

Yusuf enrolled in the BakerRipley Tech Equity/Bridge Program. This is a unique set of classes and services that allow local Neighbors to gain access to industry-recognized certification for digital skills. When combined with hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs, as well as the pre-employment coaching, students gain pathways to competitive jobs in modern fields.

But as his Tech Equity classes began, he realized it wouldn’t all be easy. “When I first started the course, it was very challenging. Midway through, we took a test, and I scored very, very low. It was a wake-up call.” Yusuf knew he needed to buckle down. He removed distractions in his life and focused on his studies.

And just as crucial to his success, Yusuf realized he wasn’t alone as he faced the challenges of the program.


What do healthy, helpful families do?  They support, encourage, and care for each other.


“The staff and instructors were amazing.
It was like a second family.”


This is why the BakerRipley family is so important. Together, we can all work to provide the support, services, and opportunities necessary for Houston Neighbors to overcome the challenges that stand between them and their dreams.

With the help of BakerRipley teachers, staff, volunteers, and donors, Yusuf was able to focus on the program. When he encountered difficult concepts or projects, he received the tutoring he needed. And even when he experienced the types of small hurdles that so often knock us off our plans, he received help that made a real difference.

“One time, my wifi was terrible at home, and Diana (a BakeRipley instructor) invited me over to the BakerRipley facility. She was able to get me a mobile wifi that I could use for the class. After that, everything worked perfectly.”

Sometimes, these seemingly small solutions make a huge difference in a Neighbor’s success.

After focusing on the program and receiving the support he needed, Yusuf was able to score among the highest in the class. Then he completed his certification through the BakerRipley Tech program. He earned his CompTIAA+ certification, which is the preferred credential for IT operational and technical support roles.


Today, Yusuf is employed locally as a Processing Tech. He enjoys his job, and is excited about his career path.

“So for anyone that’s feeling a little lost or needs a change in their life, or just wants a new challenge, come to the Tech Equity program at BakerRipley. It’s life-changing. It literally took me from a point where I was at my lowest to one of my highest.”

Stories like these are nothing short of life-changing. BakerRipley’s education and career training includes youth and family STEM events, after-school programs, summer camps, adult training, certifications, networking, small business training, and so much more.

We’re glad to be a part of Yusuf’s story because it’s a powerful reflection of BakerRipley’s goal of helping every Neighbor pursue their goals and aspirations. And we’re proud to stand with every BakerRipley donor, volunteer, and friend who help make this possible.