Testimony to the Montgomery County Council

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Re: Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY17 Operating Budget, Department of Health and Human Services

Testifying: Barry Tucker, participant of the Latin American Youth Center, Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers (MMYC) positive youth development programs

Good morning ladies and gentleman,

My name is Barry Tucker. I am a former student at the Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers (MMYC). I want to share a little story with y’all. Before MMYC, I was a person who didn’t value responsibilities. I didn’t care about having a job, and I was living day by day. I didn’t have a plan for the future. Not to say I didn’t have responsibilities, but I just didn’t care about them. I was living by myself after my mother put me out of her house. She put me out because I would keep too much company in her house. All my friends stopped hanging out with me because they realized I didn’t have a place to chill at. They weren’t my real friends. This happened soon after dropping out of high school during my senior year. During that time, I was just thinking, “Hey, I can get my GED when I’m 25 or something.” I viewed the world as fun and games. I would wake up and the first thing that I would think about was, “Where’s the next party.” I didn’t care about what people thought of me, including my mother, friends, or family.

A year after dropping out, I started to reflect on where my life was headed, and I asked myself, “Do I want to continue my life this way?” My mom needed help with my youngest brother. I had stopped being around him after she put me out. I was feeling bad about that because he looked up to me a lot. My other young brother was going to be released from jail soon, and he didn’t have a place to go. I started noticing I wasn’t making any progress in my life, and I was struggling with bills. I was faced with almost being homeless, and I had never been homeless before.

That was a wakeup call for me. Soon after, my little brother told me about this organization called MMYC. He learned about MMYC through their internship program. They gave him an opportunity to gain work experience at a DC monument providing services as a tour guide. My brother talked to staff members about my situation, and MMYC told him he should get me involved. He gave them my information, and they blew my phone up to come in for an interview.

Ever since being a part of MMYC, I have been setting goals for myself and completing them one by one. They have helped me develop many life skills throughout the last two years, ultimately achieving my high school diploma. Some of the life skills I developed were learning how to keep a job and also arriving on time to places that were important. But the most valuable skill I learned was how to put my mind towards anything I want to accomplish.

Currently, I am working two jobs. One job is with a new workforce program at MMYC called ECC (Erosion control crew). Once I finished my GED, MMYC called me up for this job. I successfully completed all of the classes and trainings needed for the job. I also work for Safeway as a day stocker. Now, I am financially stable and able to afford my own place. I now care about what my friends, family, and also co-workers think of me. I have grown to realize people look up to me and most of them see a lot of potential in me. I’ve decided that I do not want to let them down. I now plan for my future by continuing to set goals and keeping up with my responsibilities.

Thank you.

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