Participant, Young Men’s Program, Chelsea
Tyler King was raised by his father in Revere. By the time he graduated from high school, Tyler was an alcoholic, drinking heavily and hanging out in the streets. Angry and easily provoked, he caught multiple assault charges. In fall 2013, the Chelsea District Court referred Tyler to Roca, and his name landed on the case list of Josiah Hill, Roca’s Youth Worker in Revere.
Josiah located Tyler, but Tyler continually brushed him off. “I didn’t think I could change,” Tyler remembers, “and I didn’t think it was worth anyone’s time to try to get me to change.” Undeterred, Josiah stopped by Tyler’s house every day for a month. Having no luck with Tyler, Josiah gained the confidence of Tyler’s grandmother and father. Finally, Josiah knocked at the door one day and found Tyler’s father at home. He let Josiah in and pointed him toward Tyler’s room. At last, Tyler relented.
Tyler’s early days at Roca did not always go smoothly. There was a fight, and Tyler was fired from his Roca crew. There were other relapses, as well. Tyler credits Roca for teaching him the difference between “acting” and “reacting” in its Cognitive Behavior Theory (CBT) classes. He also started working in the Roca kitchen with Chef John who, with Josiah, helped Tyler start working through his issues.
Thereafter, things started going much better. Tyler, who had never held a job for long, learned basic work skills in Roca’s Transitional Employment Program (TEP) and Advanced TEP. He also obtained a forklift license, earned industry-recognized Serv Safe, OSHA and CPR certificates, and completed Roca’s culinary program.
In July 2014, Tyler was working two jobs and going to Roca when a tornado flooded his family’s home. Tyler left the second job to undertake the major repairs the house required. “Before Roca,” Tyler says, “if something bad like that had happened, I would have just gotten drunk.” In contrast, Tyler has been sober for over two years and employed at Market Basket, using skills Chef John taught him, for nearly two years. Tyler still comes by Roca, grateful to Josiah, Chef John and Roca for believing in him until he believed in himself.
Tyler’s goal now is to go to college and become a Radiology Technician. Meanwhile, he mentors his younger brother, who is about to graduate from high school and, thanks to Tyler, also works at Market Basket. “I used to worry that that my brother would go down the wrong path, like I did,” Tyler says. “Now I tell him he’s got to go to college, too.”
“I used to worry that that my brother would go down the wrong path, like I did. Now I tell him he’s got to go to college, too.”
— Tyler King