Friday Sep 23rd, 2016
In 2011 Joshua Uche graduated from high school. For the next year he just hung around, enjoyed having time off and not having to get up early. Then he started to want more for himself and when a friend mentioned the Eastside Youth Opportunity (YO) Baltimore Center, he looked it up.
The center is operated by Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition (HEBCAC), in partnership with the Mayor’s Office Employment Development. As soon as he attended the orientation meeting, he knew that he was on a mission. He wanted help with employment and with getting into college.
“The staff at YO Baltimore were an amazing help. I got an interview for an internship program with the MTA where I could make $14.00 per hour.” But after about six months, Joshua realized he wasn’t interested in transportation. He told the job developer, “I want a career, not a job. I want to be in law enforcement.”
“YO staff helped me apply to college and showed me how to get financial aid, but it’s hard to have a full-time job and go to school, plus at the time I was a new parent.” YO staff connected him with yet another training opportunity, through which he received a Private Detective Certification. Today Joshua is a full-time Resident Advisor II at the Juvenile Justice Center. He provides supervision and guidance to youth residents and assists them with life skills development and choosing appropriate alternative behaviors.
Outcomes & Benefits
Joshua is still on a mission. He is joining the National Guard. He wants to be a Maryland State Trooper and, eventually, an FBI Agent.
“If I join the National Guard, it will give me an edge above the hundreds of applicants who apply to be a Maryland State Trooper. It will look good on my resume.” Then he’ll figure out how to get his Bachelor of Science so he can apply to the FBI – that’s the five to 10-year plan.
“In high school I got into a lot of trouble and the consequences of that changed my perspective on a lot of things in life,” said Joshua. “By the time I got to the YO Center, I was serious. And every time I accomplished something, they would give me an award certificate. It’s just a piece of paper, but it helped keep me motivated and feel recognized.”