Isles Logo

A 37 year old, Trenton-based nonprofit that fosters self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities.

More than a Diploma


At Isles Youth Institute, we know that education goes beyond obtaining a high school diploma, job training, or an internship. Our alternative school supports students in achieving their academic and employment goals while emphasizing the character and leadership development skills vital to the long-term success and wellbeing.

Meet Alexandria. She joined IYI September of 2017. As a young mother of three, she was looking for a school with a flexible schedule. She already had a couple years of work experience under her belt, and as our staff soon discovered, she was far more prepared to graduate than anticipated. In fact, after 3 years of being off track and out of school, it only took her two months at IYI to pass all of the tests necessary to get her diploma. “The staff here were so upbeat. They were excited to be teachers, and that’s something I’ve been looking for, for a while” she shared; “they pushed me before I was even ready to even attempt to push myself, and I passed!”

Even after hitting this important milestone, Alexandria continued to stay engaged with IYI. Our public speaking workshops uncovered a powerful voice and gave her a chance to perform a stirring speech on perseverance, a subject she knows intimately. “I’ve been at rock bottom. Like, having stable housing is a struggle. I faced some obstacles that could have had me homeless, but Ms. Anita [IYI Youth Services Manager] was definitely a big part of me learning how to push through. I would have walked away, would have thrown my hands up, and turned to something that wasn’t so positive, but she forces me to be positive. I can only try my best and put my best foot forward.”

Alexandria also enthusiastically participates in our community service projects. From working with a local artist to paint an encouraging mural at the city’s recreation center to volunteering at the local soup kitchen, she loves it all. “I love being part of a team, multitasking, moving at a fast pace and serving my community. I like the feeling of being part of something bigger than me and bigger than our youth institute. There are people in our community who are really in need, especially the homeless during this time of year, so just to be able to bring my brightness and spark up their day means so much to me.”

We’re so proud to see Alexandria blossoming over her time here at IYI, and we know that her strong character, leadership abilities, and compassionate heart will bring her to where she needs to be.