Who am I? I ask myself this question every morning while staring in the bathroom mirror.
During my preadolescent years, my situation at home became volatile. I would stay out to avoid the drama at home by going to the streets. I fell deeper into this new lifestyle and it began to dominate everything. My grades were dropping. Hopes of going to college were always in my head, but it was all to no avail. I was accepted to a couple of schools but didn’t get any grant or scholarship money. In short: If you can’t pay, you can’t play.
I watched myself turn into the embodiment of a stereotypical disconnected innercity youth. I enrolled in community college, but I would still stay out participating in questionable activities. My mother discovered my double life and ultimately kicked me out. Being homeless and more deeply involved in the streets, I lost the things that were most important to me – my relationship with my family and my dreams for the future.
While I was struggling to find employment, my daughter – Solynda Ivette Alvarado-Narcisse – was born. Her life directly depended on me, and I would never forgive myself if I was taken away from her to serve time or worse. I guess God heard my prayers because a few months later I heard about Year Up.
I really didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that they would pay me to come to school, and that was enough for me. Little did I know, I was about to embark on a life-altering journey.
At Year Up, I formed a circle of support with my newfound comrades that will last a lifetime. My IT instructor, Damien Rudzinski, provided me with a sound foundation in technology, which enabled me to excel at my apprenticeship at Goodwin Procter. I made the transition from being a dependent novice to a valued member of the Goodwin Procter team, and I am happy to announce that they have offered me a position as a helpdesk analyst.
So again I ask, who am I? I am a father. I am a role model and support system. I am a man who has persevered through many personal hardships in life, strengthening my resolve to succeed. I am a man with drive and purpose who is destined for greatness.