In Their Own Words: Jabari M.

Why did you decide to join GOSO?

I heard about GOSO when I was at Rikers Island in 2016. Mr. Goldsmith visited my building and told us about the program. GOSO stood out to me because of the name itself: “Getting Out and Staying Out.” It’s also based right down the street from where I grew up in Harlem, so it would be easy for me to get to.

After being at Rikers, I was then sent upstate to another prison. When I came back from upstate and started going to GOSO in person, I felt really motivated to do things since I had had that set back.

What programs are you participating in at GOSO?

Right now, I’m enrolled in the school and I just recently got an internship with Dos Toros through GOSOWorks. I haven’t started yet, but I’m about to pick up my uniform and my first day will be soon!

Are you excited for your internship at Dos Toros?

Yes, I’m very excited because after I finish school, I want to study culinary arts when I go to college. That’s the next step for me, so this job in a restaurant is going to be a perfect fit for me.

Eventually, I want to start my own food business or open a restaurant. I love to eat and make food for other people.

How is school going for you?

It’s going great. I’m taking the TASC exam later this month, and I only need to take the social studies section because I passed everything else. If I pass that, then I’ll graduate!

I love the environment of the school at GOSO because we get a lot of one-on-one attention and I’m able to focus more. The teachers are amazing, truly outstanding, and they make you laugh!

Why is pursuing your education so important to you?

It’s important to me so I can be successful. Without an education or a high school diploma, you don’t really get the benefits for other things you want to do in life. I know what my career goals are, and know that having an education will help me achieve those.

What impact has GOSO had on your life?

It changed my life around. I had always been looking forward to working, going to school, and being successful, so this is the perfect place for me. It’s a part of my community, and I love being able to take advantage of everything they offer so I can be successful.

What’s some advice you would give to someone else if you could?

I am always encouraging my friends to sign up for GOSO. I let them know about the little things like the fact that you can go to school and actually get paid to be there. Things like that can be really helpful to some people, and I know it will get them to consider joining. I like to motivate my friends to do more.

What inspires and motivates you?

Just my experiences in life and everything I’ve learned along the way.

Time really flies, and it’s important for me to spend my time wisely. I know that cooking is what makes me happy, because I enjoy myself whenever I do it. People need to start doing more things that they enjoy — you’ll be a better person! Instead of just working at a job that you know you don’t like, and working just to work.

People stress themselves out and they don’t want to get up to go to work. You got to be willing to do it, excited to do it. Go to work and enjoy yourself, or else why are you doing it?