What brought you to GOSO?
I wasn’t doing anything with my life. I was on this path of being what I perceived as a failure in life. My friend referred me to GOSO, and my life just started going up from there — doing well in school, helping to provide me with resources like a Metrocard, helping improve my access to food.
What resources has GOSO provided you?
I already had my high school diploma, so for me the focus was employment. With help from Nick (GOSOWorks Manager) and my Career Manager, Julia, I secured an internship at the Johnson Community Center, right here in East Harlem. I’m still working there, and I love it! I work with young kids, helping them with homework as part of after-school support, and more. I see myself in them, I used to be like them, and I see some of the kids potentially starting on the same path I took. I think it’s incredibly important for me to share my story with them. I empathize with them and explain to the kids that there’s more to life than joining a gang or getting involved in other things like that. If they want to be successful and have a family, there are so many ways to make that happen without putting themselves or others at risk.
You’re currently attending college. What has that experience been so far?
I’m working towards my degree in Early Childhood Education at Hostos Community College, in the Bronx, and I hope to use my degree to be a mentor or therapist. After graduating, I want to work with my community and offer mental health support. I am really passionate about working with young adults, especially those who are between 10 and 15 years old, as that’s a time when kids often start to get involved in the streets and socializing with older people … just getting involved with the wrong things. I want to try to prevent them from going down that path.
What is the most important way that GOSO has supported you?
GOSO helped me to be successful in my internship, offering me guidance on how to be prepared. My job at the Johnson Community Center has been so important. Before, I was experiencing depression and it was hard to find motivation — I felt like waste. Getting a job in New York is hard and filled with a lot of rejection. But at GOSO, I had allies to help open doors for me! It feels great to be able to work in the field that I love, and it’s all because of GOSO.