shamir cousvinShamir Couvsin came to Success Center SF in the fall of 2014, hoping to get his GED. We noticed that Shamir had a very inconsistent education history. He’d attended a host of schools, staying at each for only short periods of time. We learned that due to a family conflict, Shamir’s housing situation was unstable and he was currently living with his grandfather in San Francisco.

But even with these challenges, our staff noticed Shamir was very active, liked to participate in activities, and was a creative thinking young man. Shamir openly expressed his passions with the arts: poetry, music, dance, and sketch art. We quickly saw that this passion was combined with genuine talent in poetry, music and dance. Despite all of his adversity and barriers, Shamir proved himself to be exceptional in these areas.

Shamir also became an academic standout at our school with above average grades. School policy dictates that we only discuss employment opportunities with students once they’ve passed two GED tests. When Shamir passed his first two tests in a matter of months, he decided to immediately seek employment.

During his employment assessment Shamir expressed that his ideal job would be working with music in some capacity. Staff then began a more targeted job search focusing in the musical arts. We were able to refer Shamir to an internship with Sunset Youth Services where he was eventually hired as their studio engineer/coordinator, which he later described as his dream job. He quickly showed he was comfortable juggling work and school. As a matter of fact, Shamir did so well that he was recognized as valedictorian for our 2015 graduating class, achieving the highest score in all the respective GED tests.

Today, Shamir is still doing a juggling act, pursuing an Associate Degree in Music at San Francisco Community College while working as a barista at Starbucks. He continues to pursue his ambition of becoming a music artist and entrepreneur, and still comes by to mentor and share positive messages with youth at our center.