Roberto Succeeds Despite Odds

“No one will do the work for you. YOU have to do the work. ‘Just do it!’ like Nike.”

Young Roberto falls into the ever increasing demographic of “disconnected youth” – those between the ages of 16-24 who are neither in school or working. Though fortunate to graduate from the Phoenix Job Corp with technical training, Roberto did not have a job upon graduation; and with no family or friends in the area, he went to live in a half-way house … until he was kicked out due to a house rules infraction – taking an Uber home one evening.

Now homeless, he took up residence under a bridge and soon was abusing alcohol and drugs to deal with his frustration, isolation and depression. It was there he says that he had a personal epiphany, “God knocked some sense into me.” He was tired of his life. He wanted to do something with the rest of it. He hadn’t gotten his education just to live under a bridge.

Roberto found his way to the Human Services Campus and the Central Arizona Shelter Service (CASS) where he was able to get a bed at CASS, and where he was directed to St. Joseph the Worker. He met with an SJW Employment Specialist who spent time learning about Roberto, his story and his circumstances. A motivated “kid” who clearly wanted to be able to take care of himself, SJW gave Roberto access to a computer, helped him to create a professional resume, and gave him job leads and a bus pass to apply for employment and get to interviews. He was hired immediately as a full-time cook – a job offering full benefits! But before he could begin working, he needed non-slip shoes, black pants, a black belt, and a food handler’s card. SJW happily provided these things to Roberto with his employment prerequisites as well as a monthly bus pass to guarantee his ability to reliably back and forth to his new job!

He now says, “There are 3 Types of people in the world – those who wait for something to happen, those who say what already happened, and those who make ‘it’ happen. I am that one who makes ‘it’ happen.” His words of wisdom for others who are struggling and anxious for their futures? “No one will do the work for you. YOU have to do the work. ‘Just do it!’ like Nike.” And then get the support that will get you the rest of the way.

Way to go, Roberto!