Participant, Young Men Program, Springfield
Danny figured out his passion while doing something that most people wouldn’t dream of: completely gutting and renovating two old storage buildings. It was on that Roca Springfield crew that Danny realized he’s all about woodwork. “I love carpentry,” he says. “I would do it for work for the rest of my life.”
But not long before that project, Danny says he had no idea what the next phase of his life held. When he got out of jail at 20 years old, he had nowhere to go, no one to turn to, and no experiences necessary to get a job and keep it. “I didn’t have a plan whatsoever,” he says. “I was lost.” Between being homeless as a child, the death of his brother, and the trauma of prison, life had been anything but smooth sailing for Danny. That’s when Roca reached out to him.
After a few outreach attempts by a Roca Youth Worker, Danny started coming to Roca and did anything from CBT to working on a work crew.
Then Danny stopped showing up, headed down a path that could lead back to jail quickly. “I got tired of everything and disappeared for a month or two,” he says. “And Roca was at my door almost every day saying, ‘Come back, come back, come back.’”
And he did come back. Now a few years in, Danny has got his state carpentry certification, he joined the carpenters union as an apprentice, and he’s working to become a journeyman in the future.
Away from his old life of trauma, pain, and jail, Danny has learned to believe in himself. “My brother used to say, ‘A man without a plan is planning to fail,’” he says. Now Danny has a plan, and every day he proves to himself and those around him that change really is possible.
“Roca was at my door almost every day saying, 'Come back, come back, come back.’”