DeAndre's Story

My childhood was really tragic. A lot of trauma. Violence. Gang-bangin’. Drugs.

 

Where I come from, it was just the way it was. It was hard to eat. You couldn’t help but be a gang-banger. Whatever it took to survive. I lost my brother. I lost my parents. I lost a lot of loved ones. I didn’t care about anything.

 

I spent a lot of time in jail. But then I was growing older and started finding myself. I was determined to find a job. I saw an ad for JobsWork MKE. They were just opening and getting their feet off the ground. I entered that program and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me, besides my four kids.

 

When I got to JobsWork MKE, they taught me. They don't just help you find jobs, they teach you how to do interviews. Every way you need help, there’s a person there to help. If you need help with your credit score, there’s a person there. If you need counseling, there’s a person there. Help with the court system. Housing. Helping me get a car. Helping me save my money. Getting my license together. Getting my tickets paid. You name it, that’s JobsWork MKE, all in one.

 

But you have to want it. And if they see you want it, they’re going to go the whole mile for you—they will go to bat for you. I mean, it might be strict. You’ve got to follow the guidelines and the deadlines they have. But it's a good lesson. They show you the right way. It's on you if you want to follow that path. But for me, I follow the path.

 

The program has helped me grow and develop. They helped me maintain my focus, to keep my mind focused on what’s right—and to not pay attention, not hang around negativity. I haven’t been on probation since I’ve been around them.

 

I’ve had many jobs with JobsWork MKE. Cleaning jobs, construction jobs, landscaping. I’m a jack of all trades thanks to JobsWork MKE. So now they’re focusing on my attitude, on staying humble and getting through this pandemic.

 

I feel like I’m becoming a man. Taking ownership. Understanding. Sacrificing. Being focused and humble.

 

Without them, I don't know where I'd be. Where would a young kid be if he had no guidelines, no guidance or anything? Where would he be? Dead or in jail.

 

That was me a long time ago. But I don’t even think about that time anymore. Now, my vision is to keep going and being successful. Staying humble. Staying out of the prison system. I respect my vision. Before, I didn’t have any vision. I didn’t care. Now, I'm awesome. I’m fantastic with myself. I'm very proud of myself.

 

I made it. I’m here.