Thursday, August 12, 2010

Generational poverty adverted?

I haven't written in awhile and I have lots of excuses but nevermind, here's another story of my life over the last 2 weeks.

I thought I'd write a note about what's been going on in my life since getting back to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago.(I was on vacation in Utah) 2 out of the 4 youth I'm working with on going to Penn State have all their financial aid packages set and room and board set up. The other 2 have a couple of hurdles to jump over and should be fine by this time next week. I have the good fortune to be able to take them and move them into their dorms this coming Sunday. I look forward to this although I wish I could be watching them leave with their parents taking them off to college. I have a couple of other boys who are leaving for Loch Haven University on Thursday morning and they are, as of 11 am this morning fully ready to attend college. All 5 out of 6 of these students are entering college as the first member of their family to attend college. It's been alot of hard work and lots of paperwork and follow up as the parents just have no idea what to do as most of their parents haven't even graduated from high school.

I have one more story I'd like to share that has happened since I got back. Tom Jones, a father, who is also student of mine who didn't graduate told me that he wasn't going back to get his diploma. I asked about his GED and he was lackluster at at best. He asked if I would help him get a job as I have some connections for jobs although most are of fast food variety. I drove him down to an area of town where they have a school called the Bidwell Training Center. I let him know that he could attend this school for free and be qualified for a career. The careers range from Pharmacy Tech to Culinary Arts to Horticulture. Their culinary arts department is very well known in and the Horticulture department grows some of the world best Orchids. I told him as I took him home on a friday that I would pick him up on Monday morning for the orientation class so he could learn more about the school. His attitude was terrible and I thought to myself that I'm about done with trying to help this kid out.

Monday morning I showed up at his place at 8 am and knocked and knocked and knocked on his door. His sister finally answered and Tom came down the stairs apologizing that he forgot and would I wait for him to get ready. I got him to the orientation by 9 am and told him I would pick him up at 11 am. At 11 am he finished his orientation and I was there to greet him. He walked up to me and told me that he was going to be a Culinary Artist! I then walked him over to admissions and we talked about the GED program they have for him so he can get his GED before he starts his program.

Here's where the rubber starts to hit the road. Tom has needed his state id since last December and I have hounded him several times about this. I even was unable to get him hired due to him not having an id. Well...that wednesday he texts me that he got his state id!!!!

This may seem simple stuff but it was huge and a big step for this young man and father. I can now get him hired at Burger King and in school to get his GED and then on to Culinary School. This young man now has a path out of generational poverty.

One person, One family, One block at a time....