Ricky's Story

RickyPrior to receiving services Ricky lived life in the fast lane. “I was first arrested when I was 14 years old, then again at 16. My mom passed away in 1995 and in October of 1998 I went to prison for 10 ½ years. I was arrested again April of 2009 and released January 2013.” After arriving at the Weingart Center Ricky was afraid he would return to his old ways. “I knew how to survive on the streets but I wanted to be the best me. I was supposed to be released in Oakland but Allah had different plans for me and sent me to the Weingart.” Ricky entered the AB109 Transitional Housing Program and was connected with various programs to stay on track. At his initial intake, he set specific goals with his Case Manager. “I was determined to succeed and accomplish my goals. It was a lot of fun working with the staff of the Weingart because they stood behind me and assisted me with my goals. I improved and became the person I am today.” He transitioned out of a residential facility, to the Marshall House, and then moved into his own apartment on February 7, 2014. Ricky was referred to the Weingart Workforce Development Team as part of AB109 Employment Services. He had several hurdles to employment, limited work experience, large employment gaps, and a felony conviction. Before working with the Workforce team he said, “I was afraid that my past would determine my future. I had a brief job working at a restaurant called Bakers, but I did not know how I was going to explain that I was in jail for 10 ½ years. I didn’t know how to explain that to an employer.” However taking the classes helped teach Ricky to talk about it and explain himself. Employment Preparation empowered him and gave him the tools to go out there and find a job. He completed Employment Preparation for Community Transition (EPCT), California Food Handler Training, Custodial Training, and then began working with a Job Developer to connect him with community employers. On August 27, 2013 Ricky went to work at a pizza parlor, where he was interviewed and hired. He was determined to succeed and worked hard. “I have been at my job since August 2013 and have even talked to my supervisor about a promotion to Assistant Manager.” Ricky completed his one year of PRCS and release from probation on January 24, 2014. He is hopeful for his future, whether he gets the position or not Ricky says, “My goal is to continue to do my best and be a better person in life. To honor the people that helped me get here today.”