Erika was introduced to Future Skills Institute when she participated in Tempo Young Adult Resource Center’s Photo Voice program in July 2013. During the program, Erika’s shyness and anxiety was evident; she had also struggled with depression for several years. In September, at the conclusion of Photo Voice, Erika expressed interest in finding a job. She began working with FSI’s Career Specialist, Patty Gorman, to explore potential career paths. After discussing Erika’s options for an entry-level position while she earns her high school diploma, Erika revealed that she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and work with the elderly. The Career Specialist contacted the Executive Director of Emeritus Senior Living at Farm Pond and was able to set up an interview for Erika with the Head of Dining Services, as well as a tour of the campus. After the interview, Erika was chosen to participate in an eight-week job placement through Youth Works. She completed a seven-day orientation and is currently working as a Dietary Aide, and is optimistic about securing a part-time position after finishing her Youth Works placement. Perhaps most importantly, Erika recently told her clinician that she feels happy and excited about her life and her future – a nearly complete turnaround from where she was just a few short months ago. Erika is an example of how youth employment can improve mental health, boost confidence, and help young adults take those crucial first steps towards cultivating successful, fulfilling lives.
Mike visited Tempo today and talked with Oscar and I about his future. We discussed the changes he needs to make to ensure his success.
Tempo was the first place Mike came after being released from police custody this morning. Although he wore a disappointed expression when he walked in, Mike left our meeting with a smile — and the knowledge that Tempo is here, as always, to assist him on his path to success.
Today I was reminded that so many young adults come to Tempo and find support, love and hope within our community. I feel very blessed and honored to be a member of a compassionate team who works with wonderful, resilient young adults. Thank you ALL for supporting Tempo’s mission!
Watch Yolanda Ortiz’s 5-minute presentation about Tempo at the 2012 Social Innovation Forum!
I was born in Worcester, MA to a loving mother and father. After my birth my parents moved to Framingham, MA to get away from Worcester because it’s known for its drugs and violence. But little did I know because I was so young my mother was a crack and heroin addict. When I turned three years old my father filed a divorce towards my mother because he didn’t want her addiction to ruin our family. After their separation my father moved to downtown Framingham and my mother moved to Millis, MA.
I only had chances to see my mother on the weekends and it really affected me in many ways because I was so young and confused about their separation. As the years went by my loneliness and desperation deepened due to being left alone all the time because my father was busting his “tail” to provide for me and that’s when my rebellious and confused rampage began. As I entered middle school my mind was on starting trouble and not caring about anything, I started smoking marijuana to fill the emptiness and wanting to fit in. All through middle school everyone thought I was doing alright because I was so quiet and laid-back but deep down inside I was dying. My life consisted of using drugs, making excuses, and living in my past because I had no guidance and felt hopeless in life.
As I entered high school my mentality was the same and I was settling for less. My first two years in high school was going downhill due to more anxiety, harder drugs, and depression. But I participated and excelled in track and field and also found a new stress reliever. Junior year was the hardest, the mother that I hardly knew passed away due to a serious infection. I remember receiving the phone call from my aunt telling me to get to the hospital, when I got there I saw my mother lying brain-dead in her bed and for the first time in my life I was so speechless. That was the hardest image that I have ever seen and it was my own mother but that didn’t even stop me from using drugs when I should have. I tried managing my feelings but everything was still chaotic, I was inconsistent in sports and it cost me scholarships to plenty of colleges.
Thanks to the grace of god I received my diploma but still I was “lost” and needed guidance. After high school I was back to running the streets, selling and using drugs and it led to my arrest with larceny of a firearm. Now that was the “smack” in the face that I needed to get my life together and it worked.
Later on my father told me about a career center called Tempo so I checked it out and I am glad I did. Tempo helped me by showing me that life is not a game and if you want to better yourself you have to do the work yourself. Tempo was a” safe-haven” to get away from all the negativity in my neighborhood and it also boosted my confidence level. I have showed Tempo that I am committed to myself and others. I was offered an intern position at Tempo and Future Skills Institute. At Tempo I am a Web Designer, I have successfully completed Mentor Training so that I can help other At-Risk youth and also keep myself out of trouble by giving back to the community. At FSI, I work as a college research intern. I myself have got accepted into Mass Bay Community College for the fall of 2008. I will attend Mass Bay for two years in the Technologies program. After I complete my Associates Degree I will then transfer to a State school to major in graphic design.
Due to the changes I have made for myself with the support and guidance of various Tempo staff members I am on the road of success. I have been 3 months sober and doing better than I ever have in my life. Tempo is what every At-Risk young adult needs in their lives. When at Tempo you can see if you’re ready to change your life; that no matter how much of a mess you have made out of your life you can change and they at Tempo will show you how to change you’re unmanageable self. I was one of those “lost souls” and now I’m one that people can look up too. More importantly I can look at myself and like what I see. I know I have a future and the support I need to get there and stay there. I am so thankful for the staff at Tempo for giving me the chance to show myself that I can lead a normal life and that I am worthy of happiness.