konstantinchuykovWhen I moved here from Ukraine three years ago, there were very few opportunities for me. It was my dream to go to college and study finance or computer science, but I had no idea how I was going to make the money to pay for it. Without much experience, I knew it was going to be difficult to find work. I had no family to fall back on and was living in a youth shelter. I began to worry that I would not be able to support myself, much less save enough money to pursue my dreams.

Then I met someone from the Year Up program. It sounded like exactly what I needed – a program to give me real professional skills, allow me to work on my English, and then hopefully help me find a job at one of their partner companies. I really didn’t have much to lose at that point.

Year Up had so many classes that helped me, but the guest speakers had the greatest impact on my life. They made me believe that I too could be successful, that I shouldn’t be afraid to pursue my dreams. Almost everyone there had experienced some of the things I had gone through. Not only did they really want me to succeed, but they knew what to teach me in order to help me get there. By the time I left I knew that it had changed my life forever.

When I started interning at Wells Fargo, I decided that I was going to work as hard as I could to prove to them that they should hire me. I was hopeful, but I knew that they only had a limited number of spots for conversions.

Then, after four months, my manager called me into his office and asked me to stay on full time. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy, I think I wandered around in shock for the next two weeks!

I never imagined that I could have made it this far. I love my work at Wells Fargo as a Quality Assurance Analyst. I really enjoy working as part of a team. Plus, I get to review and test products before they launch, which has helped me to build a solid professional skill set. Since I’ve been hired, I’ve used the skills I learned at Year Up to write a web-based program that automates part of our quality assurance process, which saves our team four hours of work every week. I hope my contributions will lead to a promotion or that I will be able to save enough money to go back to school. I’ve also moved out of the youth shelter and now live in a comfortable home with my mother, who I am able to support.

The Year Up community is part of my life, and I owe so much to them. I know that I want to continue to be a part of the change that Year Up works for every day.