Author Topic: Another opportunity to change a young life.  (Read 3599 times)

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2994
  • Location: WDC
Another opportunity to change a young life.
« on: February 10, 2017, 09:25:17 AM »

A while ago, I received some great advice for helping my nephew. 
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/advice-needed-my-opportunity-to-change-a-young-life/
He's on a great path now.  He found retail and it's been a great fit, as long as he's selling a product that he's proud of.   And he's enrolled in college, took two classes last semester and enjoyed them.    So great success there!

Now I need similar advice for another person, but the consequences of this may be much more significant.  This person (call him Charles) is a neighbor's child.  Some of you might remember that I live in a mixed income community with $1M houses and public housing located on the same blocks.  Charles is from one of the public housing units and hasn't had much success in his life.   I met him when he was 14 or 15.  Friendly kid.  Walks around the neighborhood all the time and knows and greets every person, every time he sees them.  Not much deeper than that, just friendly.  I suspect that a part of the shallow level of interaction is because the white, upper class people have never really learned how to interact.  We're learning, but it's not a fast or easy process.  And the other part is just his personality - more acquaintances than deep friendships, which I get.

Charles has some pretty severe ADHD, and I'm not sure what other learning difficulties, but in the 5 years I've known him, he has only advanced one grade level and has now aged-out of school.  Last year, Charles got in some pretty serious trouble (first time) a week after his 18th birthday, and went to prison for 6 months.  Now he's back and he's struggling.   Still has a good, friendly attitude. He got a job at a fast-food restaurant through his halfway house.  The commute will be about 70-80 minutes most days (one way), but he doesn't mind that because he says the more time he spends doing something, the less time there is for trouble. 
I should add that having known this guy for 5 years, I really do believe that he's weak in intelligence and in conviction.  Meaning that he's a follower.  If he's around the wrong types of people, he'll end up going that way.  If he's around the right types, he can find a better path.   

Having just been through a similar exercise with my own uber-privileged nephew, I see the differences and recognize that if Charles had extended family, a school system, higher expectations, role models, a secure home, safe social environment, or even just some of these, then he'd have a better chance of success.  Right now, I really want to help him find something that will give him a chance at a career and hope for his own future.  I don't even know where to start.  I started seeing some listings for building and groundskeepers where I work and thought that would be great for him -- structure and always working with other people, but kind of easy and laid back.  No real accountability other than to show up every day and do the work assigned.  But then the Govt hiring freeze limited those jobs to current fed employees, so that's out for now.  (Not even sure he'd be eligible due to his record).   He is open to the help and agrees he needs a career -- not a fast food job.    It's hard to figure out if he's capable of a vocation like plumbing, but I would be willing to buy him an apprenticeship if that sort of thing even exists.  But I think we would need a vocation that really doesn't take much learning or knowledge.  I'm just having trouble thinking of what those might be in this area (and yes, he has to stay in the Wash DC area)

Any thoughts on what I should look for? 

Here's a recap of some of his traits:
  • Decent human being
  • Agreeable and quick to smile
  • Easily swayed by others (for good or for bad)
  • Convicted felon
  • Extremely short attention span
  • He's a little bit scary looking until you get to know him
  • He's not terribly bright and doesn't always realize the impact his actions will have on others

There are a gazillion service-related jobs that exist or could be created where I live.  There are so many people with too much money and not enough time.  People will pay $17 for a half-hour dog walk.  We cannot even get handymen because there are too many people competing for their time to do minor things.  This area is ripe for an enterprising young person, but unfortunately, because of his record I don't think he could ever be given a key to anyone's house.  He's a little too slow-paced to compete for house-painting or construction laborer jobs around here, which is why I thought he'd be well suited for government facilities work. 

I'm worried that if it's not a very structured program, he'll just lose interest and stop showing up.   I also feel that Charles has an opportunity far greater than most in his circumstances.  A number of other people in the neighborhood would also be very interesting in helping Charles. 
Any ideas? 




Vindicated

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1111
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Indianapolis
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2017, 11:23:56 AM »
One of my cousins has a learning disability, and has never really been able to make his own decisions.  However, he got a job unloading trucks and stocking shelves at a local super market, and has done well.  He's even moved into his own (low income) apartment.

Other similar job types would be working in a warehouse.  Any Amazon fulfillment centers nearby?  FedEx?  UPS?

I hope you're able to assist him, but most of all, I hope you're able to put him in a position to help himself.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2909
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2017, 11:39:24 AM »
What's wrong with a fast food job? Many places have a career track where you can train to be a manager. If you really want to help, how about donations to the halfway house? It sounds like it has been a great resource for him. DC does have a jobs training program for 18-22 year olds but I forget what its called.

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2017, 11:53:53 AM »
I'd look into helping him get the felony expunged if it's possible.  It looks like DC only allows you to expunge a failure to appear felony, though.  Don't know if you're in a surrounding area and the rules might be different.

Personally I would just encourage him to excel at the fast food job for now.  You said he likes the structure, so why not see if that helps him.  Let him build some work history and get a solid recommendation from the manager before he moves on to something else.  A single felony (especially at such a young age) isn't a death sentence.  I've hired folks with a non-violent felony conviction before if a couple of years have passed and they have a clean record since.  The key is going to be building up his confidence so he has less of a follower tendency and stays on the right side of the law going forward.

AMandM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 856
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2017, 02:16:57 PM »
Is he strong?  He might be able to work as a solar panel installer.  My nephew (a bit better off than Charles, he did barely graduate from high school) did this and it turned his life around.  It doesn't involve going in to people's houses and it doesn't require self-direction at the entry level.  One issue might be transportation; I don't know whether the company expects the workers to get to the job sites on their own.

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2994
  • Location: WDC
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2017, 04:15:10 PM »
One of my cousins has a learning disability, and has never really been able to make his own decisions.  However, he got a job unloading trucks and stocking shelves at a local super market, and has done well.  He's even moved into his own (low income) apartment.

Other similar job types would be working in a warehouse.  Any Amazon fulfillment centers nearby?  FedEx?  UPS?

I hope you're able to assist him, but most of all, I hope you're able to put him in a position to help himself.

Those sound great.  I think an Amazon center is coming near here.  I know he can't be a driver (he doesn't drive)  Thanks !
Great Advice

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2994
  • Location: WDC
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2017, 04:22:34 PM »
What's wrong with a fast food job? Many places have a career track where you can train to be a manager. If you really want to help, how about donations to the halfway house? It sounds like it has been a great resource for him. DC does have a jobs training program for 18-22 year olds but I forget what its called.

Nothing wrong with it, but I don't think he'll ever be a manager.  I also think there's not quite enough structure there to keep him interested long term.  Too easy to fall in and out of a job, so he won't worry about losing the job if he can always just get another one.  (Not sure if he actually can always get another with his record, but it seems as if he's not challenged enough if he's still wandering the streets)

I'd look into helping him get the felony expunged if it's possible.  It looks like DC only allows you to expunge a failure to appear felony, though.  Don't know if you're in a surrounding area and the rules might be different.


hmmm.  I'm not sure this is a possibilty .  It was a violent assault, but he claims he wasn't part of it, had no idea his friends were going to do it, walked away when they assaulted the victim, etc.  He was offered a deal if he gave up the names of the others and wouldn't do it.  Also, the assault occurred just over the border in Md, where the laws are much more strict. 


Is he strong?  He might be able to work as a solar panel installer.  My nephew (a bit better off than Charles, he did barely graduate from high school) did this and it turned his life around.  It doesn't involve going in to people's houses and it doesn't require self-direction at the entry level.  One issue might be transportation; I don't know whether the company expects the workers to get to the job sites on their own.
Yeah, he is strong and there's a lot of solar installations around here.   I'll do some research. 

FIRE me

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1099
  • Location: Louisville, KY
  • So much technology, so little talent.
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2017, 04:39:23 PM »
That recent felony is going to hurt him. I agree with nobody123 that getting it sealed or expunged would be of great benefit.

The other things that I thank matters are is he honest and hardworking?

Would he steal $100 if he had the chance? Would he lie about it? If he found $100 on the ground, would he return it to the rightful owner if he knew who it was? You can get away with being dull in a lot of working class jobs. But being dull, dishonest, and lazy is a bad combination.

There are a few decent paying jobs out there that can be done on less than average intelligence. Some manufacturing, packaging, trade help, and others I'm sure. But if he lacks a work ethic and honesty, he won't be keeping that job.

Josiecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 298
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2017, 05:19:40 PM »
Right now he should bloom where he is planted.  He should strive to be the best darn fast food worker ever.  Get a good reference from the manager and then move on to something better.

You're very kind to look out for him. 

marion10

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2017, 07:45:30 AM »
I think just being encouraging and taking an interest in him will help a lot. Can you talk with his caseworker ( I imagine you will need your friend's permission) at the halfway house. Sooner or later he will be moving out of the halfway house and where will he go then? Does he need help making a plan for saving for a security deposit, for example?

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2017, 12:38:30 PM »
Look into Job Corps.  It's a program that helps kids who just don't have direction /job skills /any idea on how to transition from teenager-to-adult. 

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2994
  • Location: WDC
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2017, 09:46:02 PM »
Would he steal $100 if he had the chance? Would he lie about it? If he found $100 on the ground, would he return it to the rightful owner if he knew who it was? You can get away with being dull in a lot of working class jobs. But being dull, dishonest, and lazy is a bad combination.

There are a few decent paying jobs out there that can be done on less than average intelligence. Some manufacturing, packaging, trade help, and others I'm sure. But if he lacks a work ethic and honesty, he won't be keeping that job.
I don't know. He is from a culture where things don't seem to matter unless you get caught. i think his instinct would be to hand over money, but then he would realize what he had and try to pull back and then get caught hesitating. His friends, family, neighbor's, aunts, teachers would all mock him if he tried to get property back to its rightful owner. The best that this community has seen is people who mind their own business. It has been a foreign concept to many as the neighborhood changed and there are now people willing to work with the police. There are people in his community that have been leaders, but they have a different form of justice.
If he's around people who work hard and don't steal, I doubt it would cross his mind to steal. But if he were with people who think nothing of stealing, then I think he would.
I can't stress this enough, the cultural norms are different. If you are surrounded by people who don't think it's wrong to take advantage of a situation, even if that is stealing, then it takes a different kind of person to overcome that.  I just don't think he's that person, which is why I'm trying to arrange for him to be around more of the "right" kind of people.

I think just being encouraging and taking an interest in him will help a lot. Can you talk with his caseworker ( I imagine you will need your friend's permission) at the halfway house. Sooner or later he will be moving out of the halfway house and where will he go then? Does he need help making a plan for saving for a security deposit, for example?
He has already moved back in with his family on my block. I don't think there is any time limit on how long he can live there, so I expect he will be there forever with his mom, grandma, and sisters and brothers. He's the youngest and he's 19. 

Johnez

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1072
  • Location: Southern California
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2017, 10:03:38 PM »
Warehousing. It's what I do, and it's a really great job for all kinds of people.

I'm going to school, and this schedule allows normal school hours. It's straight forward and really doesn't get too complicated, yet is quite satisfying. Hours are normally 3rd shift, so has the additional advantage of keeping him busy during the hours most trouble is brewing, AND is a way for him to keep away from those type of people.

I would say any grocery, big box, or food/beverage manufacturer will do. Think Kroger, Stater Bros, Walmart, Pepsi/Coke, the beer warehouses (Straub or Harbor around here), CVS, Sysco, US Foods, etc. Preferably a union shop. You can be slow and steady in a union. Just don't steal or screw up too bad.

Another plus-warehousing jobs are almost always available where I am (Southern California) and pay pretty good. I say minimum starting pay should be between $17-18 an hour, topping out at about $28 for some very well run places. I'm a bit wary of places like UPS, Amazon, or FedEx for various reasons.

Tuskalusa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 388
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2017, 10:49:40 PM »
He sounds like a good kid at heart, who needs some encouragement and direction. Great that you are looking out for him.

Being successful at this current job sounds like a great start. Also, are there any prigrams that could help him get his GED?  Seems like a GED, combined with a good reference, could put him on a good path.

Also, I think your encouragement could go along way. Sounds like he could use a role model/cheerleader.

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2017, 10:57:29 AM »
I'd look into helping him get the felony expunged if it's possible.  It looks like DC only allows you to expunge a failure to appear felony, though.  Don't know if you're in a surrounding area and the rules might be different.


hmmm.  I'm not sure this is a possibilty .  It was a violent assault, but he claims he wasn't part of it, had no idea his friends were going to do it, walked away when they assaulted the victim, etc.  He was offered a deal if he gave up the names of the others and wouldn't do it.  Also, the assault occurred just over the border in Md, where the laws are much more strict. 

Answering the question about the felony during an interview might be a bit tricky so soon.  Taking responsibility will be a major factor in the hiring process, so the "I didn't do it, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time" probably won't hold much water so soon after the crime.

FIRE me

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1099
  • Location: Louisville, KY
  • So much technology, so little talent.
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2017, 02:20:29 PM »
Would he steal $100 if he had the chance? Would he lie about it? If he found $100 on the ground, would he return it to the rightful owner if he knew who it was? You can get away with being dull in a lot of working class jobs. But being dull, dishonest, and lazy is a bad combination.

There are a few decent paying jobs out there that can be done on less than average intelligence. Some manufacturing, packaging, trade help, and others I'm sure. But if he lacks a work ethic and honesty, he won't be keeping that job.
I don't know. He is from a culture where things don't seem to matter unless you get caught. i think his instinct would be to hand over money, but then he would realize what he had and try to pull back and then get caught hesitating. His friends, family, neighbor's, aunts, teachers would all mock him if he tried to get property back to its rightful owner. The best that this community has seen is people who mind their own business. It has been a foreign concept to many as the neighborhood changed and there are now people willing to work with the police. There are people in his community that have been leaders, but they have a different form of justice.
If he's around people who work hard and don't steal, I doubt it would cross his mind to steal. But if he were with people who think nothing of stealing, then I think he would.
I can't stress this enough, the cultural norms are different. If you are surrounded by people who don't think it's wrong to take advantage of a situation, even if that is stealing, then it takes a different kind of person to overcome that.  I just don't think he's that person, which is why I'm trying to arrange for him to be around more of the "right" kind of people.


Good luck with him. Sorry to say I am not optimistic.

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2994
  • Location: WDC
Re: Another opportunity to change a young life.
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2017, 06:51:07 PM »
Would he steal $100 if he had the chance? Would he lie about it? If he found $100 on the ground, would he return it to the rightful owner if he knew who it was? You can get away with being dull in a lot of working class jobs. But being dull, dishonest, and lazy is a bad combination.

There are a few decent paying jobs out there that can be done on less than average intelligence. Some manufacturing, packaging, trade help, and others I'm sure. But if he lacks a work ethic and honesty, he won't be keeping that job.
I don't know. He is from a culture where things don't seem to matter unless you get caught. i think his instinct would be to hand over money, but then he would realize what he had and try to pull back and then get caught hesitating. His friends, family, neighbor's, aunts, teachers would all mock him if he tried to get property back to its rightful owner. The best that this community has seen is people who mind their own business. It has been a foreign concept to many as the neighborhood changed and there are now people willing to work with the police. There are people in his community that have been leaders, but they have a different form of justice.
If he's around people who work hard and don't steal, I doubt it would cross his mind to steal. But if he were with people who think nothing of stealing, then I think he would.
I can't stress this enough, the cultural norms are different. If you are surrounded by people who don't think it's wrong to take advantage of a situation, even if that is stealing, then it takes a different kind of person to overcome that.  I just don't think he's that person, which is why I'm trying to arrange for him to be around more of the "right" kind of people.


Good luck with him. Sorry to say I am not optimistic.

I know.  It's a hard battle.  I feel like bunch of moving parts have to line up perfectly for this guy to succeed, and at every step along the way, there are people who are purposely trying to pull him down the dark path.  There aren't as many people trying to pull him up the light path, but there are some.  So I figure I have to try.  Maybe someone else will try too.  And then someone else.  and then someone else.  Problem is that there are so many people in his same situation that the people who are willing to try, would rather go for the easy targets, so if you're not someone who is already striving for success then who wants to put the effort in?