Monday, January 25, 2016

A Young Father Enters the Professional World through UPNEXT

By: Darwin Garcia

Dhavon was a young, unemployed father, with limited access to his daughter when he joined UPNEXT. He wanted assistance in finding a stable job so he could build a bright future for himself and his beloved daughter. Dhavon understood his barriers but was not deterred by them. Instead, he was driven to overcome these hardships. As a result, Dhavon was able to push himself to achieve several milestones and become one of our most accomplished alumni.

On his first day at the program, Dhavon introduced himself to the staff and his peers in a positive, enthusiastic manner. He warmed up to everyone in the classroom about his struggles and desire to better himself. As each day passed, Dhavon soaked up the information offered about fatherhood, seeking employment, and professionalism through our various workshops and activities.

He became computer-savvy through our computer literacy workshop; understood the complexity of fathering through our 24/7 Dad workshops; and became more employable through mock interviewing and resume clinics. Dhavon graduated from the program and was offered a fellowship at Midtown Community Court (MCC), our parent organization. Dhavon’s duties were to manage those mandated to community service in providing custodial services to our office.

Dhavon shined as a fellow for MCC. He matured through his experiences and managed to supervise diverse groups of community service workers. At the same time, he was able to gain visitation rights of his daughter. His relationship with his daughter blossomed as he made progress professionally. He spent weekends bonding with his her, talking to her about all of the success that he was enjoying at UPNEXT. After completing the UPNEXT fellowship, program staff offered him the opportunity to complete another one, which he gladly accepted. The second fellowship provided Dhavon the opportunity to further develop his custodial skills and become a mentor to first time fellows.

The second fellowship ended and Dhavon found himself looking for employment once more. Coincidentally, a full-time position as community service supervisor at MCC arose at the same time. Dhavon applied for the position and used his all of the skills, as well as the strong track record he developed during his fellowships that he had learned at UPNEXT to secure it. Dhavon is now the first UPNEXT alumni to obtain a full-time position at our organization, MCC.

Dhavon has overcome many obstacles to reach this point, and continues to move forward. We at UPNEXT are proud to now call Dhavon a colleague and we will work with him as he progresses in his career.