Today, 19-year-old Nick wears a suit and tie every day to his job as a client service administrator at a bank. In the future, he sees himself investing in the stock market or buying up real estate. However, things haven’t always looked so bright for him. Over the years, Nick has faced a multitude of obstacles that threatened to get in the way of his goals – but never did. He says confidently:
I’ve learned that I’m very resilient. It’s not easy to break me, and I don’t give up.
Nick left his native Jamaica and most of his family behind when he moved to Boston with his father at the age of 11. After years of struggling with employment, Nick’s father returned to Jamaica and left Nick in the care of his aunt. Nick had a tough time. He often clashed with his aunt and began to spend more time hanging around the streets. His attendance in school — and his motivation — dropped.
Nick was referred to YOU Boston at 18 and began seeing case manager Tena Fenton, who mentored him and worked to improve his school attendance. In the spring of 2014, she recommended him for placement on a Transitional Employment Services (TES) Level II Bridge Team where he stood out for his enthusiasm and strong work ethic. He recalls:
YOU Boston gave me my first real job, my first real paycheck, and a sense of security… To me, YOU Boston means independence.
When Nick was ready to look for work in the private sector, he met with YOU Boston Job Developer and Retention Specialist Mary Leviner, who assisted him with his resume and interview skills. Nick’s involvement in YOU Boston would later catch the eye of a Boston Private Industry Council employee, who put his name forward for an internship at a local bank. After impressing his potential employers at the interview, he was offered the position.
Despite his progress, his living situation became strained and he spent the next three months in and out of shelters. The instability took a toll on Nick, but he pushed himself to stay focused.
Recently, his hard work paid off when he was offered a permanent position with the bank. His housing situation has also become more stable since enrolling in The Bridge over Troubled Waters program, which provides him with a place to stay and helps him save money. Graduating from high school continues to be Nick’s biggest goal and he is on track to obtain his high school diploma from TechBoston Academy this spring. With continued support from his YOU Boston case manager, Nick is on the road to rebuilding his relationship with his aunt.
Now, instead of turning to bad influences when things get tough, Nick looks toward trustworthy mentors for support. He describes his transformation:
My mindset has totally changed. I used to have an ‘I don’t care’ attitude, but what I have right now, I’m not willing to jeopardize it. Now I realize if you don’t care about yourself or your future, you won’t succeed.
His advice for future YOU Boston members:
Don’t let your ego get the best of you. Staff at YOU Boston are actually trying to help you. Everyone is working to make some change for the better in a young person’s life.