Most stories you hear about students at Year Up are about people who got a second chance to overcome adversity and, with the right opportunity, make something of themselves. My story is similar; except for me it has been about third chances.

With Year Up’s high-level of support, I felt like I coasted through my year on site and in my internship—it was fun for me. I interned at in the Financial Application Support Department and was offered a job at the end of my internship. I graduated from Year Up in 2011, and from what I hear, I was smiling from ear to ear throughout the entire ceremony. I continued to climb the ladder of success until the Summer of 2013. But as challenges arose outside of work, I became less and less able to focus on work, family, myself — everything. I had no choice but to resign from my job, so I could dive deep into myself to figure out how I got so lost.

I went through the hardest time of my life shortly after I got the opportunity of a lifetime. With a lot of effort in an aim to get to know the real me, I realized that I was dealing with a lot of doubt, insecurity, and apathy that I had not been so aware of most of my life. I made it my mission to pick myself up and re-invest in my personal and professional growth and development.

Year Up never stopped supporting me and YUPRO was there every step of the way, as I got serious about getting back in the tech field. They provided every kind of assistance someone in my position would need, from resume building to counseling and regular check-ins. They continued to advocate for me, despite the gap in my resume and were very understanding of the personal challenges I was experiencing.

I’m currently a full-time IT Associate at The Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) where I’m in charge of nearly all IT functions. My manager wants to eventually hand off 100% of IT operations to me, and I’m up for the challenge. Our mission at NCCLF is to make socially responsible investments that revitalize our communities. This directly aligns with my own mission to continue to invest in myself. My plan in life had always been to wing it. Through serious reflection, that’s not the case. Now, I have high expectations for my future and plan on continuing school.

I was insecure about being cared for most of my life, so accepting compliments and praise has never been easy. This experience opened my eyes to the reality of how much some people do genuinely care and how willing they are to give me a shot at greatness. I’m an example of someone who got lost, found himself again, and came out even stronger.

I look up to organizations like Year Up and YUPRO, and hope to one day return that same investment to many individuals.