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Heriberto Sarabia

Heriberto enrolled in our Apprenticeship Preparation Program recovering from addiction and wanting a better life. He needed stability, and a way to provide for his two-year-old son. He was drawn to union construction because of the opportunities for advancement and career stability, but didn't know how to get into a union, and didn't have his GED. Heriberto says the certifications he got in the APP class will take him a long way, but what stood out the most was "all the personalities, from the staff to other students — everybody's pushing for you to do better on a daily basis." Show More...

Now, as an APP graduate, Heriberto has earned is GED and is pursuing a career as a union electrician. "It's going to give me a career path," he says. "I've always had jobs, but never really a career, and now I'm looking forward to being that provider for my family and for my son. Because I wasn't able to do that in my past life."


mother and daughter hugging and smiling

Nia

Nia moved back to her hometown here in Pasadena with her three children after getting out of prison. During her incarceration, her kids' dad passed away. It was hard to make ends meet. "Honestly, I didn't even know how I was going to be able to afford to get an ID," Nia explains. Nia sought out help from our Reintegration staff, who helped her get an ID and bus passes. "They helped me with that transportation barrier," Nia says. "So the money I did have could go toward other things. It helped me save for the car that I have now." Now, Nia is working and going to school for cosmetology — something she's always excelled at. "I love making people feel good about themselves," she says.

After so much stress, Nia knew her kids needed support too. "Their father had passed, we had just moved, and they didn't know anybody," Nia remembers. Her daughter Jala was struggling in school and her sons Kai and Malik needed role models.

We let Nia know about our Youth of Promise program (YOP), which provides tutoring, mentoring, volunteering opportunities, and a community of other kids to connect to. Community service was especially important to Nia. "Because that's what a community is for — to help out." Nia enrolled Jala and Kai in YOP right away. Though Malik wasn't old enough for the program, YOP staff connected Malik to partner Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters, which provides mentoring for elementary schoolers. Malik just celebrated his one-year anniversary with his mentor, a Pasadena area attorney. Show More...

Through Youth of Promise, Kai met his mentor Darryl — a much-needed role model. "He was really close to his father who passed," says Nia, "and at 13, he's at an age where he needs a good male figure in his life. It's a pivotal age for boys as to which way they're going to go. I want to keep him on the right side. I'm trying to raise my son to be aware of who he is. I don't want him to be one of those kids that just gets lost in the streets."

For Jala, YOP gave her self-confidence and leadership skills. Jala wants to be a photographer, and Nia knows the skills she's learned in Youth of Promise will take her there. Beyond her salon skills, Nia says, "My biggest strength is being a go-getter. I make sure my kids are taken care of first."


Will and Drew posing outisde

Will and Drew

Will's mom brought him to our Youth of Promise program when he was in 9th grade. He wasn't engaged in school and was struggling to get homework done. He would barely speak or make eye contact with anyone. It was rare to catch him without his hoodie up or his head down.

We connect all our youth with mentors, who guide them through challenges and commit to seeing them succeed. Drew, a local Pasadena judge, was a perfect match for Will. Drew and Will immediately bonded over their shared love of movies. Will has taught Drew about video games, while Drew has exposed Will to golf.

"I feel like I have made a new friend and that I am learning things about what it is like to be a teenager in today's society," Drew says. "Mentoring is truly a two-way street. I really believe that it is a very positive experience for both the mentor and the mentee." In their time together, Drew says he's noticed Will speaking up more, staying focused in school, and developing plans for the future. Drew says, "I hope that in some small way our relationship can help him realize that it is possible to achieve his goals." Show More...

Now, as a 10th grader, Will makes a point to say hello, looks us in the eye, and leaves the hoodie at home. Will has improved his grades and works hard during tutoring sessions. Recently, Will enjoyed preparing and serving food at Door of Hope's homeless shelter, and collecting hundreds of pounds of produce for families in need working with Food Forward at the Victory Park Farmers' Market.

Youth need a nurturing network of support to be the best they can be. When caring adults invest and believe in them, they're full of promise. As Drew put it, "It's important that young people see that there are good options for them later on in life if they work hard and have a plan. Perhaps most importantly, it's good for a young person to see that they have someone in their corner who cares about them and wants to see them be happy and successful."


Portrait of Moises

Moises Garcia

Moises Garcia grew up in McArthur Park, a community that he says is "under-resourced and gang-infested," where crime and violence were normalized. He thought his life would always be this way. Moises says the kids he grew up around "don't believe they have options." But then he found the courage to make a change, and came to Pasadena to get help at Flintridge Center. Moises knew he couldn't break harmful cycles in his life by himself. He was immediately connected to Jeff, a reintegration Case Manager. Moises says Jeff "emphasized how much he cared about me, and helped me grow out of the dysfunction I came from." Jeff helped Moises identify his strengths and figure out that he wanted to pursue higher education, and then walked him through the process of applying for school and accessing educational resources. Though the process of change was tough, Moises stuck with it. Now, Moises is enrolled at Pasadena City College and on his way to a college degree, with the goal of pursuing a career in social work. Growing up, he never thought college was in his future. He explains, "coming from the community I came from, college is not even talked about. It didn't even exist in our minds as a possibility." He says he never would have gone to college if it wasn't for Flintridge Center and his Case Manager Jeff. But, Moises says the biggest change is his mindset. "Flintridge changed my way of thinking and habits. I used to think very negative. I thought 'well, this is just how it is.' But Flintridge told me, there's more to life than four blocks. You can do a lot more in life if you're willing to explore. Out here in Pasadena, we make roses come out of concrete."


Jermil Lewis

Jermil had been in and out of prison most of his life. This year, he knew it was time for a change. After moving to LA from Oakland, he applied for a construction job at LAX, but lacked the needed pre-apprentice training. So, he came to Flintridge Center and committed himself to our Apprenticeship Preparation Program. Through the APP, Jermil got a lot more than construction job training. Jermil says the program showed him how a union works, refreshed his memory on key math concepts, and earned him important certifications that gave him an advantage on job applications. But most importantly, he says, the APP "taught me how I can be a productive citizen in society." In addition to applicable construction skills, Jermil enjoyed weekly life skills sessions with our partner 2nd Call so much, he and his wife Loneka started attending additional sessions near their home. "It's teaching me how to address past trauma and let it go," Jermil says, "and the importance of not letting your past hurts affect who you are on a work site." Jermil's favorite memory from the program was completing a hands-on project building a playground with a local nonprofit. Jermil explains, "When you took from something or did so much harm in the past to the community, it means a lot when you can give back to that community in a positive way." Thanks to Jermil's commitment and persistence while he was in the program and after he graduated, his connection with 2nd Call earned him placement in the Electrician's Union, and he is now working full time. Ultimately, having a career is life-changing for more than just Jermil. "It's something I'll do for the rest of my life," he says, "and not only will I benefit from it, my family will benefit. And not just my family, but my community too."


Portrait of Mary

Mary

Mary joined Youth of Promise when she was in 7th grade and having a hard time controlling her anger. Her whole life, her family struggled to make ends meet. Sometimes, they would go without power in their home for weeks. Despite some major life obstacles, Mary thrived in school, earning a 3.8 GPA while also working part-time. She's now attending UC Merced.


Tom Jerecki

Tom was in and out of institutions most of his life starting at 11 years old. Upon release, he knew he wanted to get into the union but "had no idea how to do this." After finding Flintridge, Tom learned what it would take to find a career. From mock interviews to life skills, Tom says "all of it was so powerful. So powerful because it makes it real." After graduating the APP, Tom said "I can see the future now, indefinitely. I'll never worry about going back to prison again." He is now a member of the Iron Workers Union Local 416.


Bryan Barajas

Bryan Barajas had been in and out of jail since the age of 15. "Being in jail limited my growth," he says, "it just held me back from a lot of things that I wanted to do." By dedicating himself to his personal and professional development over the 12 weeks of our Apprenticeship Preparation Program, Bryan landed a steady job with Build LACCD as a union carpenter. On October 19, Bryan returned to Flintridge and gave the most recent graduating APP class some words of wisdom.


Dan Triche

Dan grew up in Los Angeles and was at a "crossroads" in his life. Driven by the desire to provide stability for himself and his family, Dan seized on the opportunity to pursue a union construction career. The Apprenticeship Preparation Program opened his eyes to several different trades, but the most helpful thing to him was the Life Skills curriculum facilitated by our partner 2nd Call. Dan's hope after graduating was to prove to future APP students that "if you really work hard and if you really stay dedicated to it, it can happen for you." He is currently working on the new soccer stadium as a member of the Carpenter's union Local 1506.


David Aguilar

David explains that before enrolling in the program, his criminal record got in the way of success, but he got an opportunity to turn things around. "No one wanted to give me a chance," he says, "but this gave me a chance to do something good. And I'm looking forward to it." In the Apprenticeship Preparation Program, he learned anger management skills and job interview techniques. David is inspired by his family and used them as motivation to pursue a career. He is now working full-time as a union carpenter.


Manuel Desales

"I was in and out of trouble," says Manuel, "I had work. But it was just work. It wasn't a career." Manuel graduated the Apprenticeship Preparation Program in 2015, and last week he came back to Flintridge as a guest speaker at this semester's APP Graduation. Not only did he share his story with the audience, but he watched his son-in-law Jose graduate, just a few months after referring him to the program. For the past two years, Manuel has been working as a member of the Carpenter's Union Local 1506. Like Manuel, many formerly incarcerated individuals have doors of opportunity shut in their faces as they work to successfully reintegrate into their communities. Flintridge strives to reopen these doors, and in doing so uplift individuals, families, and the community.


Portrait of Efren

Efren Aguilar

After high school, Efren didn't know what direction he wanted his career to go, but he knew he wanted to do something hands-on. Our Apprenticeship Preparation Program made sense. Efren says, "I loved it. I learned a lot." He says the trips to union training centers and the dedicated staff instructors helped him understand what it really takes to have a career in union construction trades. After he graduated in 2014, he got into the Ironworkers Union, Local 416 and has been working full time ever since. Efren says having a lasting career with the union "feels great. I love the fact that I know I have a plan and a future. Before, I didn't know what I was gonna do."


David Mellinger

Dave, affectionately known around Flintridge as Cowboy, is a graduate of our Apprenticeship Preparation Program and a member of the Local 409 Carpenter's Union. At 51 years old, and with eight prison terms, Dave has very little work experience. He says, "The biggest problem of mine was just getting out of prison and not having a game plan... wanting to make money but not knowing how to make money the right way... always falling back to criminal activity." Since joining the pre-apprenticeship program last fall, Dave says "it's been just one blessing after the other." Show More...

One of Dave's biggest obstacles to employment was the job interview. He says he would talk himself out of going because of his background and lack of experience. The APP gave him "the confidence to go there and do it and to do it well." Shortly after graduating, Dave applied the skills he learned and secured a job as a union carpenter.

He recently stopped by the office to show off a big paycheck. He told us, "That's pretty good for an old man with no work experience and a bunch of felonies."


Naomy Cueva

Naomy is a uniquely accomplished graduate of the Winter 2017 class of the Apprenticeship Preparation Program. She is a single mother, the only woman in her graduating class, and is now a union member with the Sheet Metal Workers Local 105. Naomy says the biggest thing the APP helped her with is networking. She says, "I feel like I can make connections and keep them. And get somewhere with those connections." In fact, Naomy landed her job with the Sheet Metal Workers by putting that lesson into practice. Despite some initial obstacles, Naomy connected with a member of the union who recommended she explore a job site. Naomy visited the site, interviewed, and was hired on the spot. Show More...

Naomy also says she benefitted from the weekly life skills sessions facilitated by 2nd Call — "it helped me put my thoughts together and be a little more open minded."

Before enrolling in the APP, Naomy says, "I didn't know that women could actually be in construction." Now, Naomy is pursuing her new career with teachable spirit. "I want to maintain it and do my best," she says, "I don't know much yet, but I can figure it out if I put my mind to it." She's also excited to be part of a supportive network of union members. "The union is about sisterhood and brotherhood," she says, "It feels like a little family."


Louis Ortiz

Louis spent 27 of his 57 years in federal prison. He says, "Even when I wasn't in the pen I was still incarcerated and imprisoned in my mind, my soul was held captive by my belief system and my behavior was very destructive. I was a very destructive individual in my community." Louis says that the last time he got out, he had no idea what to do, but he decided he had to do something different with his life. He enrolled in the Apprenticeship Preparation Program "and the rest," he says, "is history." Today, he is a member of the Local 409 Carpenter's Union.


Mike Brown

Mike had been in institutions since entering foster care at the age of 4. He was in and out of prison and jail 25 times over 14 years — over half his life. Mike told us, "Where I'm from, we're taught that you're the oddball if you're trying to do something right." He got out of jail for the very last time last fall and enrolled in our Apprenticeship Preparation Program. A winning combination of Mike's determination and relentless encouragement from program instructors landed Mike a union carpentry job on the new soccer stadium in LA. Mike spoke to a packed room at his graduation ceremony, telling the crowd, "It's more than just a dream come true. It's life coming true."


Carlos and Dave posing

Carlos and Dave

Carlos is 12 years old and in 7th grade at Washington Middle School. He met his mentor Dave, a captain with the Pasadena Fire Department, 2 years ago through the Youth of Promise program. They bonded over playing soccer and learning about history.

Dave is proud to be a consistent presence in Carlos's life. By being a mentor, Dave says he's learned how important it is for kids to have adults involved in their education. Last year, he helped Carlos email his teachers to ask how he could improve his grades. Carlos says "I didn't really get much involved with academics before. Now I'm more interested." But the biggest thing he's learned from Dave is that "hard work gets you far in life."

While Dave teaches Carlos about hard work, Carlos teaches Dave Spanish. "He speaks way better Spanish than I do," Dave says, "If I do become bilingual one day I'll give him full credit."

When Carlos grows up, he wants to play soccer professionally, become a mechanical engineer, or join the military like his older sister. Thanks to the lessons he's learned from Dave, he's confident he'll succeed in whatever path he chooses.


Darren Meyers

Darren Meyers, a high school senior, reflects on his journey from adolescence to young adulthood. He grew up in what he describes as the "close-knit city" of Pasadena and loves playing football, going to school, and hanging out with friends. In middle school, Darren says, "I guess... I could be classified as a hot head." Without a positive role model, many youth like Darren struggle to develop the skills necessary to succeed in a community affected by poverty and violence. Show More...

Darren joined Flintridge Center's Youth of Promise Program in seventh grade and says that after being matched with a mentor, "it helped me keep my mind on track." Darren and his mentor, Eric, bonded over their shared passion for football and spend time together going to sports games, movies, and restaurants. "It's just nice to have somebody to talk to about the stuff that's happening around me," Darren says. Eric has been a source of stability and leadership for Darren, from guiding him through the college application process to providing emotional support in difficult times, like when Darren's mother passed away from cancer.

When asked what the biggest lesson he learned from Eric is, Darren reflects, "I can be the bigger man now. I can diffuse a situation without using violence."

With the skills learned as a mentee, Darren has achieved success inside and outside of the classroom. He quarterbacked John Muir High School's Mustangs football team to a victory over Pasadena High School in the 70th annual Turkey Tussle. He will continue to pursue his passion for football as a collegiate athlete next year and is currently assessing options from Dixie State University in Utah and the University of California, Davis.

Darren hopes that future Youth of Promise will take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with a caring and committed mentor. "They're not here to judge you or to put you down. They're going to help you. If they can't help you they'll find a way to help you. They'll find someone who can help you."


Elizabeth Valdez

Elizabeth had been incarcerated for three years before enrolling in the Apprenticeship Preparation Program. After finding support from APP instructors and fellow classmates, Elizabeth says, "I've learned so much about myself." She says she's ready for a long-term career and is excited to accomplish her goals.


Steve Guardian

In and out of prison for years, Steve never thought a good career was possible for him. But with the encouragement and support he found in the Apprenticeship Preparation Program, Steve dedicated himself to starting a career. Since we filmed this video, Steve was accepted into the Landscape and Irrigation Union, Local 345, and has been working full time.


Portrait of Garrett

Garrett Hall

After losing his job in aerospace during the recession, Garrett Hall resorted to selling drugs to support his family. He did three years in a county jail and says "I didn't have much of a plan when I got out." Jail left him aimless and pessimistic about finding a career. "They don't teach you anything in jail to better yourself or give you any skills that help you when you get out," Garret says. "They basically just want you back."

Immediately after his release, Garrett enrolled in our Apprenticeship Preparation Program (APP), and finally had something to look forward to — a job in a union. Unions don't discriminate based on criminal records, and they pay a livable wage that could support Garrett's family. Garrett dedicated himself to doing the best he could in the class. Out of other options, he says, "I wasn't gonna take no for an answer." Show More...

The Apprenticeship Preparation Program gave Garrett a second chance. Thanks to the program, he was able to make connections with unions and learn what makes someone an excellent candidate for an apprenticeship. He says the program "gets your foot in the door to a lot of places. They give you that chance." Garrett also loved that the program was free for students: "They pay for your books, safety equipment, and take you to unions. That helps a lot of people out." Garrett concludes, "It's the best program I've ever taken. There should be a lot more programs like this."

On the same day he graduated from the APP in 2014, Garret got accepted as an apprentice in the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, Local 398, and has been working full time since. He's proud of the work he does, and says "It feels good to complete a job and know that your work is appreciated." He also has benefits for his family and a pension, which has relieved a lot of worry for him.

But the best thing that came out of Garrett's journey was a renewed relationship with his father. He says. "My dad wasn't really proud of me before and he didn't want me back after I got out of jail. But me working and getting in the union gave him something to be proud of. It made me really happy to be able to put a smile on his face before he passed away. And I have Flintridge to thank for that."


Chris Finney, Hiracio, and Jeffrey Bellissimo posing at the Flintridge Center entrance door

Hiracio Wilson

"My eyes were opened by this program," says Hiracio, who has been accepted into the Roofer's Union and has been working non-stop after graduating from our Apprenticeship Preparation Program in fall 2015. "It's an investment in your life. It showed me I needed to go this way, not that way."


Mack, dressed in construction attire, digging with a shovel

Mack Lewis

Mack Lewis was in trouble. He hadn't had a stable job in over 3 years, and had been in and out of jail. When asked what motivated him to come to Flintridge Center, Mack says, "To be honest, my life was a wreck."

For many people like Mack, finding employment after incarceration can seem impossible. "It was hard to get a job with a felony background," he says. "It seemed like every door was being shut on me. No one gave me an opportunity." Show More...

In the spring of 2016, a Flintridge team member urged Mack to give our Apprenticeship Preparation Program a try. Mack says, "I needed something different and I needed to feel like somebody cared in this world. Coming into the class, I didn't think anybody cared. But believe me, that three months changed my whole view on people." Over the course of the three-month class, Mack dedicated himself to becoming an excellent candidate for union apprenticeship by learning construction math, workforce communication skills, blueprinting, construction safety, and more.

The compassion and relentless commitment of the program instructors motivated Mack to keep working toward a career. "They have a genuine love for others and their intention is to make you feel better. I haven't seen that in a long time. That stood out to me."

Just two weeks after graduating from the program, Mack got accepted into the Cement Masons Union. After being out of work for years, Mack says that being able to start his career right after graduating was extremely gratifying. He reflects, "I saw that all my hard work could pay off and that I always had it in me. I really inspired myself. And I love how I feel now."

Now, Mack is working full time and supporting himself and his two sons, ages 7 and 19. He recently saw his 19-year-old for the first time in 2 years and says he's looking forward to being a role model for his son.

Mack knows he's never going back to where he was before. "I love my freedom," he says. "I feel like the class helped me get out of a dark place. It gave me my life back; it showed me how to live my life again." Mack puts it this way: "I feel like if it weren't for this program, I wouldn't be a free man, I probably would have gone down the wrong road."


James posing, dressed in construction attire and holding a shovel

James Griffin

"Ever since I was 12 I've been in and out of jail."

James had just finished a 7 year prison sentence before enrolling in our Apprenticeship Preparation Program (APP). He felt trapped in a cycle of unhealthy choices that left him with no options, and he didn't think he could achieve anything other than being a gang member. He says, "I thought representing a neighborhood was my life and my purpose."

Then, James took advantage of the opportunity to start a union construction career through the APP. The union construction trades pay excellent wages, provide great benefits, and don't discriminate based on background.

James made a commitment to transforming his life. Because of his dedication, he was accepted into the Cement Masons Union and has been working full time since he graduated in the spring of 2016.

James got more out of the APP than he expected. "It changed me from the inside, out," he says. "It's a program like I've never encountered." When James spoke to fellow APP graduates and guests at the graduation ceremony held here at Flintridge Center, he said, "This is a building of love, a building of hope, a building of change."


Portrait of Benny

Benny Pena

"This is my first achievement since coming out of prison."

Benny Pena found the Apprenticeship Preparation Program one week after finishing a 30-year prison sentence. "Flintridge was a blessing," he says, "They helped me begin the process of coming back into society."

While he was at first unsure of what to expect from the program, the openness of Flintridge instructors put Benny at ease and encouraged him to continue. Participating in the APP encouraged Benny to talk about his past — a topic he previously tried to avoid — and take more pride in the things he's accomplished. While in prison, Benny earned a Masters in Theology and mastered drawing and painting. He hopes to enter the painter's union and continue to pursue his passion for art.


Lacey Zaycher

Before enrolling in our Apprenticeship Preparation Program, Lacey Zaycher says, "the best word to describe how I was feeling was lost." Now that Lacey is an APP graduate and a union carpenter working on a major construction project, she says, "the one word I would use would be hopeful." Thanks to Lacey's dedication, she got hired before she even graduated from our program.


Portrait of Angela

Angela Fuller

"I now have the competent skills to not only survive, but thrive."

After her release from prison, Angela Fuller just wanted to occupy her time. She didn't want to fall back to her old habits. That's when she came across the Apprenticeship Preparation Program and decided to give it a try. She says APP was well-suited for her because construction gave her "the opportunity to be creative on a larger scale." Her favorite things about the program were the sense of community, diversity of her class, knowledgeable instructors, and especially the support and motivation Flintridge provided to help her accomplish her goal of graduating. Since graduating, Angela has explored the floor covering union Local 1247, found a solid paying job, and says she has found new avenues in life because of the program. When she's not on the job, Angela enjoys watching wrestling matches and catching up on politics.


Portrait of Ramon

Ramon

"The APP gave me hope. It made me realize that the person I was, wasn't really me. And it showed me a different path."

Ramon knew that a life of crime wasn't for him after getting out of prison, but he didn't know where his life was heading. Luckily, he had support from his family and a parole officer who wanted to see him succeed. He got connected to the APP, and started expanding his options. Ramon says that the program gave him confidence and encouraged him to come out of his shell through life skills sessions and job development. Now that he's an APP graduate, Ramon says his top priority is to help out his parents, and start a family of his own. He also hopes to pursue his passion for soccer.


Portrait of Genghis

Genghis Hernandez

"I feel grateful. I have the skills and confidence to go onto the next step and the drive to work for something better. It starts with me and ends with me."

Genghis first heard about the Apprenticeship Preparation Program at the PACT Resource Fair. He was hesitant to enroll at first because he wasn't sure if he had an interest in construction. "The first week opened my eyes," he recalls. Every APP class showed Genghis that there's a lot of opportunities out there and much knowledge and skills to gain. Going through the course, Genghis realized he could incorporate his interest in math with construction. He also learned about the importance of unions and the life skills necessary to be a better team player. Since graduating in Fall 2015, Genghis was accepted to two unions and has been working full time. He still finds time to enjoy his passion for skateboarding when he's off work.


Portrait of Dalon with Michelle Obama

Dalon Poole

Former Youth of Promise mentee Dalon Poole accepted an award from the First Lady on November 17th, 2015, on behalf of the Art High program of the Armory Center for the Arts, along with the Armory's executive director Scott Ward.

Dalon became one of our first YOP mentees when he was a 6th grader at Washington Middle School. The mentoring he received through Flintridge and our partners at the La Pintoresca Teen Education Center helped him improve his grades and attitude in school. Dalon is now a professional photographer and award-winning artist.


Steven, dressed in construction attire, posing at a construction site

Steven Jernagin

Steven never thought he'd end up in prison, but he did, for six long years. As a kid, he was around gang activity all the time. He never thought this would affect his life. It was simply the environment he found himself in.

When he left prison, Steven was scared. He didn't know what to do. He tried to find a job, but no place that would hire him paid enough to make a dent in the support of his three children. He thought about returning to his old ways. He had completely lost faith in himself. He didn't trust anyone.

He wanted help finding a job, but nothing gave him hope, so mostly, he did a lot of nothing. His parole officer thought this was dangerous and told him about us. Show More...

Steven was skeptical until he heard Flintridge team member Daniel Torres speak. Daniel's words moved him because he too had made the journey from incarceration to a well-paying job. Daniel had graduated from our apprenticeship preparation program and worked in the construction trade. Eventually, he decided to move to a career where he could help others along the same path.

Steven was surprised when Daniel told him that in the construction trades he could earn solid wages and have security even though he has a criminal background. But what really convinced him was their connection. They had both been incarcerated, they were both fathers who wanted the best for their children, and our programs and services had helped Daniel create a new and better life for himself and his family.

Steven was inspired to give it a try. He was encouraged when he came to his first apprenticeship preparation class because his instructor was a knowledgeable retired construction worker who had years of experience. As he visited union construction sites, his confidence only grew. He used to be afraid to apply for jobs because of his prison record. But in the construction trades, what counted were his skills and who he was now, not who he used to be.

Steven also benefitted more than he thought he would from the life skills course we provided. The course helped him with self-presentation, interview techniques, money management, his relationships with others, and more. He also took advantage of our case management services, which gave him the support and assistance he needed along the way. Steven says that "this is where my confidence and self-esteem awakened. I felt these relationships were a type of friendship. Everyone at Flintridge showed a genuine interest."

Steven joined the Carpenters Union and began his first job (on a building project at McKinley School of the Arts here in Pasadena!) while he was still enrolled in our program. Steven was so strongly motivated that he worked all day at a physically demanding job and then attended our program in the evenings. His family fully supported him as he worked toward his goals.

And since he completed his apprenticeship, he has been working nonstop. He now makes an excellent wage, has fantastic benefits, and sees opportunities ahead for career advancement. He has built savings and can provide for his two sons and his daughter, as well as assist their mothers. He loves that he can afford fun activities with his kids. It makes him feel like he is on cloud nine. He is also incredibly proud because his two older children are now in college. The stability he worked so hard to attain makes it possible for him to be there for them during this important time in their lives.