I thought I had my future mapped out. I wanted to be an auto mechanic for as long as I can remember. I'd been studying auto mechanics at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology and was heading to trade school in Pennsylvania to pursue my dream after high school graduation. I even had jobs lined up so I could work while attending school.
But all that changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The trade school I planned to attend halted in-person learning, which forced me to change gears. Fortunately, I had a strong support network to navigate it all at my home away from home — the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.
Finding My Career Path
I'd been a member of the Boys & Girls Club for 10 years. Participating in the STEM program was always my favorite. We took apart items that broke and fixed them — anything from pencil sharpeners to laminators. I was always a kid who loved working with my hands. But I never would have guessed it would be Club staff who opened doors for me to a promising career as an electrician.
During the summer after high school graduation, I worked at the Club and a local restaurant. Club staffers nominated me for a three-month workforce training program that has helped me earn several certifications, learn essential job skills, and get my foot in the door as an intern with a major electric company. My internship gave me the chance to make important connections and receive real-world experience. My goal is to start a five-year electrician apprenticeship. It's all thanks to the opportunities I received at my Boys & Girls Club.
Positivity & Purpose: Passing It on
For my siblings and me, the Boys & Girls Club was like a family. The Club distracted me from the negative things in my life and helped me become a better person. My mentor Ms. Tracy nominated me for the workforce training program and encouraged me to participate in Youth of the Year
. She's been like another mother to me and has always believed in me 100%.
For those of us who grew up at the Club, it's somewhere you want to be. I want to see today's Club kids grow up and do right, and I want to be someone the kids can look up to and believe in. Thanks to what I learned at the Club, I'm going to keep raising the bar for myself, and I will keep passing it on.
Great Futures Start Here
Starting as early as age 6, Boys & Girls Clubs help kids explore their passions and interests, develop employability skills and apply knowledge in real-world settings so they can become anything they can dream. But today, school and business closures like the one Adrian experienced due to the pandemic have thwarted young people’s educational and workforce development. Tell your members of Congress
to prioritize kids by supporting the Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2021. Your voice matters.
Did you know that 1 in 16 people living in America has been a member of a Boys & Girls Club like Adrian? If you've ever been a Club kid, join our free alumni community to connect to ongoing opportunities, events and each other. Learn more and become part of the Club after the Club.