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Alumni Success

After 25 years in the nursing profession, Pedro Juan Lespier wanted to make a career change.

“Deciding what it was I wanted to do with my life after a career in nursing was difficult,” he says.

Pedro knew that he wanted to work with at-risk youth, but was not sure what capacity he could best use his skills. He decided to go back to school, earning a certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling from Contra Costa Community College in 2000. Pedro then went to New College of California and earned his bachelor’s degree in Humanities and master’s degree in Humanities and Leadership in 2004.

During this time, Pedro and his wife May started a non-profit organization called Straight Talk on Prison (STOP) to help at-risk and in-risk youth make better life choices. In 2007, he began teaching for Richmond (California) YouthWORKS and is now the director of the academic program for the services.

“Under my guidance, five tutors help 35 to 50 students each day with homework, California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) prep, and General Educational Development (GED) prep,” he says. “Students at-risk and in-risk need social services to help with issues at home — substance abuse, a new baby, mental health issues. I provide referrals so that they get the help they need.”

Pedro received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area in 2009. He says his experience at Argosy University has made a major difference in his life.

“It brought me closer to healing my community and in so doing, I healed myself from the bitterness of an early childhood spent in poverty,” Pedro says. “Argosy highlighted the importance of education and the role it can play in the lives of the underserved population in the city in which I live. Understanding this importance allows me to demonstrate to the youth I serve that education is the way out of poverty.”

In addition, Pedro is grateful for what he learned from the faculty and staff at Argosy University, where his wife Mary is also an employee.

“Argosy faculty members have been excellent in the breadth and depth of knowledge they bring to each class,” he says.

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