Allan, IT Support Manager, NYC Mission Society
What would my life have been like without Mission? I can’t even think about it. I was 14 when I started in the Summer Youth Employment Program and now I’m 33; we’re talking about more than half my life. My first job was working with Sharada (currently the Mission Society’s SVP of Finance and Administration) as a summer intern. After the internship was over the CFO said, “Would you like to stay on and work with us after school? $7.50 an hour.” At that age, that was a decent amount of money so I jumped on it! When that finished, I worked after school at Minisink working in maintenance department during my senior year of high school mopping floors, taking out garbage and everything in between.
In the Summer of 2016, I came back to Mission after finishing graduate school to work in the IT Department. When the opportunity came up to have my own SYEP interns, I was hesitant because I wasn’t necessarily eager about the responsibilities associated with managing three teenagers. But I was nostalgic, because I was literally on that other end 20 years ago. I just felt like, “I’m finally in a position to give back.” Working with the interns was an amazing “full circle” moment. Having a job is extremely important for young people: you have money in your pocket, you have somewhere to be at a certain time so it doesn’t allow you to get in trouble. We stay in touch, and it’s good to be their mentor. You need people that believe in you. As a mentor, I really like to tell young adults, “You can make 10,000 good decisions but it just takes one bad decision to ruin your entire life.” Thanks to the mentors I had at Mission, I didn’t make that one mistake. They gave me the confidence to keep pushing because, obviously you don’t want to let your parents down, but you really don’t want to let these other people down, too. All the support and guidance I got here helped me stay straight and fly right and continue to give back to the organization that has given so much to me.