My Turnaround

Before starting my internship at Bronx Community Solutions and going to the Federation Employment and Guidance Services (FEGS) - Career Development Institute (CDI) I was not doing so well.

I was smoking weed, hanging out all night, drinking, and doing things that I wasn’t supposed to be doing. I had a job but I was spending my money on things that I did not need. My sister made me realize that I needed to start doing something for myself. When a family member told me about FEGS I thought “Hey I should go and see how this program works.”

So I quit my job and the next morning I went to CDI orientation group. CDI has a lot of good programs, such as GED training, job placement, and vocational programs. They also assist all participants with metro cards and lunch.

Once I began attending CDI, I started looking for a new job. I began my first internship at a community center (the internship lasted eight weeks). I was still smoking weed at the time and I thought, “No matter what, I am still going to get a job”. Once I finished my internship there, CDI had another job for me at a department store. I was told that I would need to take a drug test before they hired me. So I had to tell my case manger that I couldn’t go because I was still smoking weed. That’s when I realized that I had to stop smoking weed. It hurts when you have a good job waiting for you and you just blow it. It didn’t take long for FEGS to find another internship for me. Staff members, Ann Jeffreys and Hans Bernier, thought I would be a good match with an agency named Bronx Community Solutions.

I got the internship and fell in love with the new program. I met great people and was learning a lot. My supervisor Judah Zuger was amazed at how fast I learned all my duties, such as giving referrals to clients that need job placement and GED training. I help coordinate the basketball team, which is fun to do because I see it as something positive for other young people to do. I also help Judah keep in touch with program graduates who get employment referrals, because we want to know how many of them end up with jobs. I spent a lot of time on the phone and on the computer keeping track of the information.

Another role I play is to talk to some of the clients when they come into the clinic. Especially with the younger girls, I try to talk to them about how I got here and flipped the script from a negative to a positive. I don’t smoke, drink, or hang out anymore because I want to turn my life around and be more responsible. I’ve also decided to apply to college and I start classes in the fall.

My internship was coming to an end and Maria Almonte-Weston, along with the Bronx Community Solutions staff, thought it would be best to hire me on a part-time basis. I thought I might have to go and find another job, but I was wrong. Maria, Kate, and Aubrey gave me the good news that I am going to be a Bronx Community Solutions staff member. As a Program Assistant I will be coordinating office management. This includes timesheet operation, vendor payment and invoicing, office supply, and vaction requests. I will also continue to do client conuseling, help with the BCS basketball team, and use my skills to assist on other new youth programs that BCS is starting.

I was so happy I started crying. Bronx Community Solutions staff members are great, especially Maria, Robert, Kate, Saudi, Judah, and Sarah. I can’t forget the staff members at FEGS either, because they did a great job by helping me get where I am. I know I can make it in life. If I made it in Bronx Community Solutions and in FEGS, I can do it anywhere.