Maximizing potential through targeted career and education supports

(photo courtesy of  Mike Olliver, Bethesda Magazine)

During the lonely days in a local detention center after hitting rock bottom from watching his father get murdered right before his eyes, Carlos realized that if he did not change his ways, he would end up dead. Once released, Carlos tried to function normally.  He tried working while attending Montgomery College.  It was too much for him to handle and he dropped out. Depressed, economically strapped, and uncertain of where his next paycheck would come from, a friend referred him to Future Link.

With hope of changing his life, Carlos enrolled in Future Link’s Fall 2010 seminar. His first step, setting a short-term goal of taking two classes at Montgomery College the following spring. Recognizing his potential and acknowledging his need for intensive assistance, Future Link provided scholarship funding and a mentor. Learning study skills he had never known, lots of emotional support from the staff, an internship in a sports program, and tutoring in two subjects, Carlos surprised himself at his accomplishments and started to see (and truly enjoy) what success felt like. Another year went by and Carlos was informed he was on the Dean's List.  Concerned, he called his mentor who assured him it was a good thing.


(photo courtesy of Mike Olliver, Bethesda Magazine)

Carlos' life didn't immediately turn around once he joined Future Link.  When he failed a class and was no longer eligible for scholarship funds, he was ready to quit and resort back to the self-sabotaging behavior he was used to.  With the support of Future Link and his mentor, Carlos discovered that giving up was not an option.  He passed the course the second time around and received his associates degree in the Spring 2014. Right before graduating, Carlos met an employer at a Career Day hosted by Future Link.  He got his first electrical job as a result of this professional connection and joined an apprenticeship program.  Now making almost $30 an hour, Carlos has steadily moved up in his job with increasing responsibility.  Most important, he is confident, making good decisions, and feels supported.

Just this week, Carlos received word that his uncle (his father’s brother) was also murdered in El Salvador. Reminiscent of the past and thrust into anger again, Carlos again found himself in a dark place. Immediately, he knew to call his Future Link family for support. We reminded Carlos that he is the first in his family to get a college degree, have a successful career, and most important, his little nephew is now determined to get a College degree too (just like Uncle Carlos)!  Breaking the cycle in this family is what it is all about. One cannot underestimate our deep commitment to Carlos and others’ like him. Carlos represents the potential of all Montgomery County young adults with a story similar to his. Success requires LOTS of SUPPORT!