By age 16, Yoel was struggling with truancy issues in school. He had become involved with gang affiliated members in the community and despite having a strong supportive family, Yoel ended up getting arrested and incarcerated by age 17.
Upon his release in 2011, Yoel was referred to Youth Options Unlimited Boston (YOU Boston). He immediately engaged, receiving case management services and began working on a Transitional Employment Services (TES) Bridge Team. Despite his continued struggle to overcome personal issues, Yoel’s success working on his Bridge Team led to an Individual Placement as an intern in his field of interest. Following his Individual Placement, Yoel moved on to successful positions in the private sector. Currently he is working in the food service industry where he recently earned a promotion. When asked how his life would be different without YOU Boston he replies,
If I hadn’t become involved in YOU Boston I wouldn’t have be as motivated to change. I would have just waited for things to happen for me
While it hasn’t been easy to stay on track with his education and employment goals, support from YOU Boston staff coupled with hard work and determination has paid off for Yoel. In 2011, Yoel was referred to the GED Plus ESAC program by his YOU Boston case manager and went on to earn in his GED in 2012. He has also remained focused on his long term career goals and is working toward a career in a skilled trade. In September 2014, he successfully completed an intensive pre-apprenticeship training program in the building trades. Thinking over the last year he reflects on how his future outlook has changed,
I’ve learned a lot about myself while involved with YOU Boston, that I don’t have to be in the same position all my life. I can have a good job and have a career.
Over the years, Yoel has developed close relationships with YOU Boston staff who have continued to be a source of support and guidance. He describes his case managers as mentors who have pushed him to reach his full potential and shown him ways to control attitude issues, stay composed, and focus on the task at hand. Since becoming involved with YOU Boston, Yoel has referred several of his own friends and family to the agency. When asked what his advice is to a YOU Boston newcomer he states simply:
Go to YOU Boston and get a job ASAP. Get yourself on track.