Saquan speaks with customers while on the job at his internship with Warren Insurance Agency

Saquan Grady began working with Youth Option Unlimited Boston (YOU Boston) in February of 2018 when YOU Boston case manager, Courtney Page, visited his school to talk about opportunities available through the program. Looking for a chance to better his life and give back to his community, he decided to sign up.

Soon after enrolling, he was placed on a Level II Bridge Team at the Brighton Allston Church, where he helped out with the church’s community food pantry and completed a number of building beautification projects. While on a bridge team, his professionalism and talents were quickly recognized by career development specialist, Christian Rivera, who decided that he had the work-readiness skills needed to flourish in a Level III Individual Placement.

Youth who are deemed ready for a Level III Individual Placement, are placed into internships with one of the agency’s trusted employment partners. Here, they have the chance to test and further strengthen their skills in real-life work settings while receiving one-on-one training.

When asked about Saquan, Rivera said “He is an incredible worker. He had been so patient and was so hard-working on his bridge team, I knew from the start that he was special.” As soon as a spot opened up, Saquan was placed in an internship at Warren Insurance Agency in Dorchester.

As an intern, Saquan balances a number of administrative duties that help the agency run smoothly.

Throughout his internship, he has consistently been one of YOU Boston’s standout young people. At only 16 years old, Saquan has done a phenomenal job balancing a number of daily tasks including handling customer phone calls , assisting in writing policies, and providing quotes to customers. He has also assisted with presentations, planned and hosted events, and completed a wide variety of essential administrative duties. Saquan says this opportunity has strengthened his computer, communication, and leadership skills, and helped him become a better more well-rounded person.

Saquan notes that one of the things he has enjoyed the most about his internship, has been working with his boss, Edward Warren Jr, whom Saquan describes as a person he greatly admires. Throughout his internship, he has taught Saquan a lot, and he plans to continue to keep in touch with him, even after his internship is over.

Saquan is also looking at taking steps towards his future career. After graduating, Saquan’s ambition is to work in masonry, a goal that he has had since the 8th grade, but did not know if he could attain before he began at YOU Boston. Now, he’s even more  determined to start taking classes for his apprenticeship and make progress toward building a masonry career. He even plans on participating in YOU Boston’s Building Trades program, which is designed for youth like him who want a future in construction. Saquan believes that being involved and connected with YOU Boston has created so many opportunities for him, all of which he is so grateful.

Reflecting further on his experience working with YOU Boston, Saquan says one of his favorite things has been being able to give back to his community. On his bridge team he worked at Fair Foods, a non-profit aimed at providing food to low income families at little or no cost. And as an intern with Warren Insurance Agency, he serves as a mentor to his peers, advises hundreds of clients about their insurance needs, sits in focus group meetings, and empowers countless people to thrive for success and personal development.

When asked what advice he would give to other YOU Boston participants or people thinking about getting involved, Saquan said “you have to have patience with the program, trust in its people, believe they have your best interest at heart and take advantage of every opportunity you are afforded.”

Saquan now recognizes his extraordinary gifts and talents, and it is due to being in this program and having great mentors who believe in him like Christian Rivera and Edward Warren Jr. YOU Boston is all about empowerment, change, and saving lives. He is grateful for the growth, the respect, and the trust he has received and will continue to push himself to complete every task and fulfill every goal. YOU Boston programming and Warren Insurance Agency are excited to see him thrive and continue to mature into the wonderful man he shall become.