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HopeWorks Trainee Spotlight: William

Updated: Sep 20

William was born in Brooklyn, New York. At home, he was sheltered and pushed toward education and art. His home life was very strict with a lot of pressure on him to succeed, and as William got older he started to crave more independence. He had earned a scholarship to Kent State University and was heavily involved in the arts, however, before William fully enrolled into Kent State he got injured, which caused him to lose his scholarship. Still at home with an enormous amount of pressure, William decided he wanted something different, and jumped into the Marine Corps. He dealt with some culture shock in the Marine Corps, but his newfound independence made the whole experience worth it. After he was out of the Marine Corps William fell into homelessness, but within a few years, he was back on his feet with housing and a career in maintenance. During this time William had a son and became a single father, his life felt stable, and he was content with his growing family.

Then in 2001 his son unexpectedly passed away. He spent the next few years deep in grieving. In 2003 he went back to school to earn a degree in counseling. He started his career in counseling that same year and made it his career until 2017. During his career as a counselor, William fell in love and got married. They moved to Florida but separated soon after due to her violent behavior towards him. Not long after separating he moved to Washington State, where William found resources through the Homeless Veterans Program and got in touch with the HopeWorks Training Academy.

William met with Jerron, the Academy Supervisor at HopeWorks, and decided he could learn something new and valuable from the program. From the first day, he felt “embraced and welcomed to the program.” William went on to be the first male in the Tomorrow’s Hope training program, and he set the bar incredibly high for future trainees. He was able to balance being a respected caretaker and a friend to the children with ease. At his Graduation, he was met with praise and accolades from all of the trainers who worked with him, including one trainer who told him “You’ve been here 8 weeks and every time you enter the classroom it erupts into excited screams.” William took a holistic approach to taking care of his class, and his other trainer Amanda recognized that, saying “You not only want to make the kids happy and comfortable, you want the next critical thinkers of the world to come out of your classroom.” After everyone got the chance to sing his praises, William spoke about the impact that the program had on him. “This program allowed me to love myself in many different ways and I am so thankful for that. I absolutely tell everyone about the program, no reservations.”

Since his graduation William has accepted a position at Tomorrow’s Hope as an assistant teacher.

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