Youth Profile:Joseph-working hard to achieve his dreams


Joseph learned about First Place from his social worker. He then enrolled in the Economic Literacy class, which he said was a great learning experience. When he moved into his own apartment, he said he felt like he was taking responsibility for his future. “Moving into my apartment was a really exciting time in my life,” Joseph said. “I really enjoyed getting my place all set up, and I started college at the same time. I felt like I was maturing.”
Joseph said that without First Place, focusing on his education goals would be a much
greater challenge. Joseph is an extremely busy young man. He is taking a full load
(15 units) of classes at Contra Costa Community College, and works up to 40 hours a week at Food Max operating a forklift in the warehouse. His days begin at 7:00 a.m. and end at 11:30 p.m.—every day. Joseph says the reason he pushes himself so hard is
because of the difficulties he faced early in his life. He and his brothers lived in foster care placements from the time they were young boys – Joseph says he lived in 12 foster care homes altogether. Although their childhoods were more turbulent than most, Joseph and
his brothers have remained close, a fact for which he says is he extremely grateful. He says the challenges he dealt with caused him to set high goals for himself to have a successful future—and that makes the long days all worth it. Joseph also has a history of civic engagement, and has a strong sense of the importance of volunteerism. In
high school, Joseph traveled to Mexico with a youth group during his spring break to help build houses for poverty-stricken villages. He also said that someday he would like to volunteer with the Big Brothers program. Joseph is currently taking classes to earn his
Associate’s Degree and eventually would like to be a firefighter. “I’ve always wanted to do a job where I could help people and give back to my community,” Joseph said.

Taken from: First Place Fund for Youth Summer Newsletter, 2006 

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