A new job and new hope: Henry’s Resilience

A sense of momentum was hard to hold onto with the COVID-19 pandemic unfurling around him. Not only did Henry lose his income as a driver for Lyft, but his sense of well-being and a promising future—like all of us struggling to stay positive and focused during the changed circumstances of this public health emergency—disappeared.

I am grateful for PRC—all the help, the patience, and the communication. Now, I look forward to tomorrow.

Troy Boyd and Joe Ramirez-Forcier of PRC’s Workforce Development program describe Henry as a “eager and willing to do whatever he needed to improve his life.” Facing many challenges growing up gay in Colombia, unsupported by family, and forced into life on the streets, Henry sought a better life in a place he could bring forward his whole self. He’d recently been granted asylum, and PRC helped him enroll in English as a Second Language classes at City College San

Francisco to boost capacity and confidence. With his Employment Specialist, Henry put together a strong resume and gathered references while he volunteered part-time at PRC and began driving part-time for Lyft.

Henry felt things were really beginning to look up.

As his confidence grew, he wanted to put the degree he earned in psychology from his home country to work, and he joined the second cohort of PRC’s new Lift Up Peer to Peer Program, an occupational Skills Training course in peer-to-peer professions and social service settings. For Henry, the program was a “wonderful refresher” and “critical opportunity to build and practice workplace vocabulary.”

Graduating in March 2020, Henry was certified as a Peer to Peer Specialist just as the Shelter In Place Order brought many aspects of regular life to a halt in San Francisco. Henry was deflated, but his PRC team rallied together, encouraging him to apply for an open position as a Residential Relief Counselor with Baker Places. His preparation netted a virtual interview, and with his wrap around PRC support system, Henry got the job!

Graduation

We are very proud of him for sticking to it and believing in himself during the difficulties presented COVID-19. Completing pre-employment training this week, Henry begins his assignments as a Relief Counselor soon.

“My life is normal, I think,” Henry said this week. “I don’t always feel proud of my history, but I’m like everybody, and I am grateful for PRC—all the help, the patience, and the communication. Now, I look forward to tomorrow.”

Explore PRC’s Workforce Development program.

Return to Spring 2020 Frontline e-News.