David Frederick

Retail Sales Consultant at AT&T

Year Up South Florida

Class of July 2013

I come from a family of Haitian immigrants. Before Year Up, we were all working to pay the rent, but we still had trouble making ends meet. At the time, I would take three buses to get to my retail job at the mall. I was determined to go to college, but knew I couldn’t afford tuition. I took out a student loan with no expectation that I would ever be able to pay it back. Despite these setbacks, I remained positive, responsible, and ambitious.

While I was a student at Miami Dade College (MDC) Wolfson, I served as President of two clubs: MDC Wesley and Minority Students for College Success. I was also very engaged in local politics and helped organize a walk from Miami to Washington, DC to support undocumented students. At this event, I was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of my fellow Haitian Youth in front of the White House.

I heard about Year Up at an on-campus event. My greatest challenge was time management, since I was full-time in school and at my internship, plus I also had my part-time retail job. I learned many things in Year Up, from how to make a positive first impression to delivering an effective elevator pitch to taking high-quality notes, but the hardest and best thing I learned was to follow the Year Up contract. Everything counts, from not returning an assignment, to being one minute late. The only way to manage my way through that year was to focus on the big goal: graduate and hopefully be the speaker of the class.

As part of Year Up, I interned at AT&T with the Core Installation and Maintenance department. My job was to do inventory on the trucks, ride with technicians to do safety checks, and complete weekly audits on the technicians’ performance. At AT&T, I learned to never give up no matter how difficult a situation might be. Most importantly, seize every opportunity – especially our challenges because it’s obstacles that teach us the most.

Today, I work as a Retail Sales Consultant for AT&T Mobility. I like helping my customers – Every day I adopt the attitude “I can help you with that”. I have been recognized as one of the top 10% salesperson in my district and was selected to participate in a leadership program with AT&T. 

I’m more capable of helping my family in ways I couldn’t before. My wife and I purchased our FIRST home and now have a baby boy together. Next, I would like to get my Master’s degree in International Relations or a degree in International Law. And someday, I want to be an Ambassador to Haiti so I can showcase Haiti to the outside world as a resilient nation.

Turns out, I did get to be the commencement speaker. I told the incoming Year Up class that if their determination is stronger than their doubt, and their courage is more resilient than their fear, then the door to success will be wide open. I dared them to dream a better world for themselves, their family and their community.

Now, as President of South Florida’s Alumni Association and representative for the National Alumni Association for South Florida, I see myself as an agent of change in the Year Up movement – one more layer to strengthen the bridge that will close the Opportunity Divide.

After being accepted into Year Up, David Frederick made a commitment to challenge himself beyond the one year program.

Five years later, Frederick is proud to share that he is, “a homeowner, husband, father of two sons, working full-time at AT&T, Founder of Impact The Outcome podcast, and author of Lakay,” his first book, which he is promoting on a national book tour hosted by Year Up alumni.

Frederick is utilizing his platform to give back to Year Up, the place that “changed my life for the better.” He found Lakay (the Haitian Creole term for “home”) in Year Up, where he gained a new outlook on life that brought him closer to his purpose. On tour, he’s sharing alumni testimonials, along with his story, as a way to empower students and alumni to lead and come together as a unifying force. “My story is just one chapter of almost 13,000 chapters in the Year Up book,” says Frederick.

More than just acquiring a job and continuing education, Frederick defines success as a legacy bigger than himself. As Year Up South Florida’s National Alumni Association Representative, and through his work to give back to the Year Up community, he hopes to pave the way for young adults to be the leaders of the Opportunity Movement.


Haiti is a land of great beauty and rich culture, but it’s also been plagued by corruption and poverty. Author David Frederick remembers a happy childhood growing up in picturesque St. Marc, Haiti—until the day he and his family had to flee following a brutal massacre in 2004. Lakay: A Journey of Struggle, Perseverance, and Hope, leads readers through glimpses of the author’s life in Haiti amid growing social unrest and government corruption as well as his life as a new immigrant to the United States. Frederick shares stories of the many obstacles he overcame while still holding onto hope. And after a return visit to Haiti, the author reflects on the current state of his native country and calls on this generation to be a force for change.

Those who grew up in Haiti may vividly remember some of the places and events discussed in this book, but even non-Haitians can still envision themselves moving along the same road the author has traveled because, at the end of the day, we have all traveled this road. We may not all come from the same place or end up at the same destination, but we have all shared moments of suffering, fear, hope, setbacks, and triumph. We all wish to live in a peaceful and prosperous world.

Foreword written by Gerald Chertavian, Founder and CEO of Year Up.