By Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides President and CEO
We all get to a point in our lives when we realize that nothing is free and everything requires hard work and determination. It is an especially poignant moment for our residents on our Pasadena campus to come to this realization, signaling the kind of awareness and sensibility that will help them transition to independence. I got to witness such a moment recently when one of our residents, who will soon be graduating from our high school program and turning 18, solicited my help in finding him a job.
One of only a few youth who have been at Hillsides for several years, I’ve seen him grow up, shed weight, grow in height, and advance academically. He’s matured into a shy yet determined young man with an easygoing personality. As he prepares to move on after graduation, he’s anxious to get a job and save some money to help him become independent.
When I asked him about his plans after graduation, he mentioned his interest in engineering and how he hopes to attend an engineering program at Citrus College. Listening to him, it was hard to believe that this was the same child who arrived at Hillsides easily overwhelmed, impulsive, and vulnerable.
Hesitantly, he asked if I could use my contacts and assist in finding him a job. Any job would do, as long as he could get into a work place and begin to save some money for his future. We have a wonderful workforce development program run out of our Youth Moving On (YMO) Peer Resource Center. We have partnered with dozens of businesses and organizations that offer youth jobs and internships after the youth go through an intensive job training curriculum developed with the expertise of Columbia University’s School of Social Work. However, in case this option doesn’t work out, especially as this young man wants to start working immediately, I am asking anyone who might have an entry level job opportunity for him to contact me. This blog doesn’t usually serve as an employment service, however I want to ensure we can help this resident move along a pathway toward greater independence. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young people like our residents have been in the news these days, taking to the streets, raising their voices, and calling for change and action. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of gun control, their idealism and determination are inspirational. Whether it be calling for social change or seeking a job opportunity, these young people inspire us because of their belief that something better is possible and within their reach. Let us align with them to make their dreams and hopes be realized, whether helping a Hillsides’ resident find a job or a young advocate create a safer world.
We are also looking for more businesses and organizations to offer jobs and internships to youth through our workforce development curriculum. If your place of work is interested in partnering with Hillsides, please contact Joshua Mathieu at email@example.com.