This Fall, Malik Gomes was welcomed into his new role at YOU Boston as Assistant Deputy Director of Youth Career Services! He will be involved in helping to provide ongoing internship and career opportunities for our young people at YOU. We interviewed Malik so he could provide some insight about himself, his experience with YOU, and what he looks forward to while being in this new role. 


Tell me about yourself

I was born and raised in Boston neighborhoods – Dorchester and Roxbury. As a young person I was always interested in youth work.  I was the eldest sibling of many and this resulted in me really feeling the need to be involved and to lead by example. In 2018, I graduated from Fitchburg State University with a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice. Directly after my time at Fitchburg State, I wanted to get involved with the youth again in the city of Boston and I was fortunate enough to come across an opportunity at YOU Boston. I’m thankful to say that 5 years later, I am still here with a wealth of knowledge and experience. My time with YOU has given me the opportunity to not only have but also provide many great experiences with young people in the city. That’s something that I am really passionate about and look forward to continuing in this role.


Do you feel like your experiences having worked at YOU Helped prepare you for this role. And if so, how?

I think my experiences at YOU have been very versatile. Prior to this position, I served as a TES Supervisor and then progressed to the Job Developer and Retention specialist with added responsibilities. Since I started, I have been exposed to different avenues and services that we are able to provide to the youth we work with. I’ve also had the pleasure of joining forces with the case management department and learning more about their roles and how we are able to help one another. On the career development end, I’ve worked with many initiatives which have given me experience working with individuals who are in union programs and workforce development opportunities such as Operation exit and National GRID Grid for Good. This has allowed me to strengthen my relationship with community partners as well. No matter what my title has been during my time here at YOU, I have always spread myself throughout the organization and never wanted to limit the assistance that I am able to provide.


What new ideas will you be bringing with you into this role?

I’d like to bring in more community engagement and provide youth with more hands-on experiences that can transition into workforce opportunities. I recognize that many businesses are still actively recovering from the effects of COVID 19 and for a while many people didn’t have a sense of security for employment during the pandemic. I want to help young people have a sense of security in regards to gaining employment. My plan to do this is by partnering with different businesses to provide opportunities that are Industry recognized such as training and certifications. I want to be able to offer a lot choices as well to tap into each youths individual interests. The idea is to really allow youth to develop these hard skills and inspire them to be confident and motivated in their newfound abilities. I’m really excited to implement my new ideas for young people while in this role.


What would you say that your most meaningful experience has been since working for YOU?

I would say one of my most meaningful experiences since working at YOU was while in my roles as a TES Supervisor and the Job coach and retention specialist – we would host a youth men’s group. This group was a combined effort between the case management and career development team. It was a safe space for young men to discuss societal barriers, struggles, and other situations they had dealt with. One experience in particular where I can remember, as simple as it sounds – we taught young men how to tie a tie. They even started making a competition out of it, seeing whose tie was better. And it was honestly one of the most genuine encounters I’ve had, seeing the excitement and joy after finishing a tie. If that experience didn’t happen, who knows if some of the young men would have been comfortable attempting to tie a tie, never mind wearing one. This was a scenario that further helped me realize that not everyone’s life experience is the same, something that someone might assume is common knowledge isn’t necessarily so common. It was great to see them experiencing excitement after a few were previously embarrassed or confused. I feel like the perfect word to describe that moment is fulfilling because of how rewarding it felt to have them be so engaged. It was an experience that they’ll remember and I’ll definitely never forget.


How would you describe your work style? 

As far as my work style, I think I am very outgoing and that can be seen in the way that I network internally and with external partners. I am very intentional about my interactions and accomplishing goals that I have set. I also like to be very involved but I do this without overstepping. The reason I prefer to be involved is because I want to be informed in case my assistance is needed, but also want to offer space for others to be creative and incorporate their own ideas. In this new role, it further allows me to assist and guide staff here at YOU. I encourage creativity and flexibility because I am very flexible in my workstyle as well. I think that overall,  I really look forward to taking a step back and seeing staff be creative and watch as they thrive in their roles.