I had to act as the adult of the house when I was growing up. As the oldest of three siblings raised by our single dad, I just didn’t have many role models. After moving and changing schools so many times I was frustrated and started to lose faith in the education system. I dropped out, got my GED and started a job at Radio Shack where I developed a real love for technology.
While I was working on my GED, one of my counselors noticed how dedicated I was and told me I would be a great candidate for the Year Up program. At first I thought there had to be a catch, but once I got started I knew it was the real deal.
I grew a lot during my time at Year Up. I had never thought about career planning before, but they helped me figure out where I wanted to go. I worked as hard as I could and felt the drive to reach those goals. I could finally see my plans becoming closer to reality. The biggest lesson I learned was the power of your word and the importance of following through. Year Up taught me that if you don’t deliver, it won’t even matter that you’re good at your job.
I was really proud of what I was doing and made sure to keep everyone up to date on my progress. I started to get emails and messages from old friends and classmates I hadn’t heard from in years who wanted to find out how they could do the same thing. I actually ended up referring a lot of people to the Year Up program.
After finishing my training I secured an internship at Salesforce.com. I tried to keep working at Radio Shack on the side to bring in some extra money, but quickly realized I had to make my internship the priority. Finding that balance paid off because Salesforce offered me a position as a Partner Operations Analyst. I was in shock when I found out I was chosen over another applicant who had been there longer and had a college degree. When I got the job I cried and called my dad. It was an emotional time.
I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am, but I’m still planning on studying business or psychology so I can earn a college degree like my colleagues and advance my career. I’m now able to help my family out financially, and set a good example for my siblings. Through my experience, my brother and sister now see that education allows you to do more with your life. I’m also training a Year Up intern in my new department at Salesforce, which is going really well. I want the world to know that many urban young adults are really talented people who have a lot of potential, and I am proud to be one of them.