Young Men Program, Springfield
“Everything that I say to these men, it comes from my heart,” Edward says. “I teach them based off what I went through.” Edward knows firsthand how hard it is to overcome struggles—both in the world around you and within yourself. He came from a broken home and exposure to substance abuse, was incarcerated after getting caught with a firearm, and turned to alcohol as a way to escape.
It was through the relentless efforts of Roca and his youth worker, Alicia, that Edward was able to turn things around for himself. “Alicia always stood by my side. And I believe that’s what makes Roca great is because of the relentless outreach,” Edward says. “They keep coming back and back and back and then eventually we get it.”
To Edward, Roca is about relationship building, unity and love. Now, after having finished the program, he is dedicated to sharing that same relentless outreach that helped him to other young men. The young people who got to meet Edward as their youth worker are so lucky!
“When you say Roca, I think about unity, I think about love, I think about this is how the world is really supposed to work instead of just locking people up. And that’s why I humbly stand with Roca.”