Story #8

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Nathaniel S. – “I’m right there beside you”

BronxWorks Strong Fathers, Stronger Families Program
Workforce Development Department

It is easy to see that Nathaniel, who goes by Nate, loves to learn and constantly strives to improve his own and his children’s lives. Thoughtfully reflecting on his participation in the Strong Fathers, Stronger Families program, he provides many examples of how he has improved himself and his aspirations to continue. Nate was amazed by the group of people the program brought together and the incredible dynamic created among the fathers in the group.

Like Alfredo (featured in story #2), Nate loved that the group brought together individuals who are peers as fathers but diverse in age, background, and culture, which he feels created a fertile environment for sharing stories, seeking advice, and learning from others’ experiences – things he wasn’t always comfortable with but is now.

Working diligently with his BronxWorks job developer, Nate recently landed a new job as a security guard, a field he is familiar with and a major milestone in terms of his overall goals. Not one to be complacent though, Nate is already looking for ways to further advance his career, economic situation, and family stability. He knows he can improve his earning potential by getting his Commercial Driver’s License and eventually look for jobs with more flexible hours so that he can spend weekends with his three daughters.

Nate’s long-term dreams are even bigger. He aspires to go back to college and continues to look for affordable possibilities to return to school but has been frustrated by the cutbacks in grants available and hidden fees of online programs. It’s not going to stop him, though. “I love class, I love learning, and I love utilizing what I learn. A master’s sounds so beautiful. That would be the ultimate dream, to graduate with a master’s, magna cum laude,” Nate ruminates with excitement. He is considering studying business with the goal of starting his own multifaceted small business – one with a traditional moneymaking element, a barber shop perhaps, but with the larger purpose of creating a community-oriented space where guys like him can “come off the streets… [away] from all types of nonsense” and stay out of trouble by having an informal place to just hang out and share with their peers.

Nate now understands the value of bringing people together in a positive, supportive space that provides a shoulder to lean on. He’s instilling this in his young daughters, telling them that “I’m right there beside you; when you cry, I cry,” and may even turn it into his career. Whatever he does today or in the future, Nate is joining BronxWorks by lifting lives and building futures.

The BronxWorks Workforce Development Department assists people that are unemployed, looking for their first job, or need help improving their careers. Services include: job skills and computer training, placement assistance, resume and interview preparation, ESL and basic education classes, budgeting and financial literacy, and benefits assistance.

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