At age 21, Marlon Coulter is a busy man. When he’s not valeting cars at Hurley Medical Center, the Hamady High School alum is washing dishes and working as a dietary aide at Wellbridge of Grand Blanc.
And, after taking a year off from college, he plans to return to his post-secondary education this coming fall.
“During my first year of college, I was in school full time and playing basketball,” Coulter says. “It was hard to be away, so I came home. People who leave school for a year tend to not go back – but now that I know what to expect, I am ready to finish what I started.”
Perseverance is an important character trait for Coulter, who graduated from TeenQuest during his freshman year in high school. Below, learn how the pre-employment program has helped him along on his journey.
How has TeenQuest helped you up to this point?
I was going through a lot of changes when I started TeenQuest. I was a shy person and didn’t want to speak in front of crowds. That was a big challenge I had to face through TeenQuest. It helped me in future interviews because I was able to get out of my comfort zone, speak up, and ultimately land the job.
What lessons did you learn through TeenQuest?
TeenQuest put us in a place where we had to transition quickly into young adults. It was our responsibility to get out of school and to TeenQuest on time and manage our homework around that. This taught me hard work, dedication and time management.
What is a memorable moment from TeenQuest?
We played a game where everyone had to work together as a team to match numbers together. The game taught me to rely on my teammates and to talk and listen. We messed up the first time, but we persevered and completed the task.
How has TeenQuest helped you since graduating from the program?
I was able to get my first job at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan where I worked for two years in high school. Even after that, when I’ve interviewed for jobs I mention TeenQuest and it seems like the interviewers always know other people who have gone through the program. It gives you a leg up.
What advice would you give to current TeenQuest students?
Keep going and finish it out. Listen and pay attention, because what they are teaching is exactly what interviewers are going to ask. You will use the tools they give you – not just for jobs, but in your daily life.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.