by David Salgado, Promotor Pathway® participant
I heard about the Promotor Pathway® when one of my friends joined. He told me that it was a lot of help to have someone to talk to him about some of the struggles he faced like obtaining a job, struggles he faced at home, or just having someone to vent to when he needed some motivation to push forward with goals.
So I tried applying, and because of the evaluation, I was told it was a “lottery,” so I knew it was a 50% chance I would get a Promotor right away. I ended up being a part of the control group and waited those 18 months to get to start officially working with my Promotor, Jorge. I was excited to become a client; even if I had to wait 18 months, I would! At this time, I was working to obtain my GED at LAYC, and the Promotor office was right next door with a couch. So I was always spending some time in there talking to the Promotores. We always had conversations about school, work, and sports, and I was able to just relax and joke around with the Promotores after class. Even though I was not “officially” a Promotor youth, they welcomed me into the office, and that’s where my bond with Jorge started.
Then FINALLY, after those 18 months, I became a client! Once I became a client things started to get done. What my friend had told me about the Pathway was right. Having a Promotor was exactly what I needed to help deal with the struggles I was facing. I remembered my Promotor Jorge asked, “What’s one thing that could make your life better right now?” I didn’t have to think about it… I said, “It would be nice to sleep on a bed!” I had been sleeping on the floor for almost five years.
Jorge jumped right in and started making referrals, and I immediately felt he was on my side and willing to help in every way he could. He told me I should have a bed to sleep on and he helped me get one. He made a referral to a community organization that helped with furniture. The Promotor Pathway got a U-Haul, and Jorge and I picked up my furniture and delivered it to my house. Having furniture, a table, a couch, a BED TO SLEEP ON, felt like a miracle.
As a mentor, Jorge helped me to learn how to be professional at work and then how to handle things in my personal life with that same professionalism. When I was in Montgomery County Conservation Corps, LAYC’s out-of-school youth program in Silver Spring, MD, I was working on my GED and completing projects in the field designed around conservation principles. Jorge held me accountable for my actions as a student and a leader of this group. As a teen, I made impulsive decisions and Jorge worked with the program’s staff to help me develop into a professional adult. Since then, I have obtained my GED, completed the Montgomery County Conservation Corps as a group leader, competed one year of community service with AmeriCorps in DC, completed six college credits in the LAYC Bard College Clemente Course, and I am now employed with Public Allies in the community with youth much like who I was.
My Promotor didn’t just help me with my professional accomplishments, but also with my personal growth. I was 17 years old when my son Xavier was born. I was not ready to be a parent. Jorge was there to help me learn the ropes and give me advice on everything from diapers to managing my money to working toward a better future for myself and my son. After all, I was 17 years old and immature. Jorge helped me learn how to communicate in my personal life using some of those professional skills I had been developing. When I became frustrated, I would go to Jorge first. He would help me calm down and then respond in the best interest of my son. Now, I am able to communicate in a more civilized way and make sure my son has everything he needs, and that I can be there for him.
During all this time, I was able to express my feelings, emotional thoughts, and struggles I faced at home and much more. For example, Jorge was there when I was upset no matter what time of day it was. He was there after hours, and even made time for me on the weekend. To this day, Jorge is like a big brother to me, and he has followed me through and been there with every struggle and achievement. Without Jorge constantly being there and connecting me to new opportunities, I would not be where I am at today.
My name is Daniel Salgado, I’m 21 years old. I’m a Positive Youth Developer. I’m a young father of a four-year-old, strong solider that I slay dragons for. I slay negativity and make positive choices in life.