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BWI changes hundreds of lives each year. Here are some of their stories.
“Even when I wanted to give up, they never did. The KindWork instructors always made sure we felt connected and supported.”
After her mother’s death three years ago, Sarina gained custody of her younger sister who has special needs. They were living in a shelter when an employment specialist told her about the KindWork Customer Experience Fellowship. With her background in retail and an interest in tech, she was a perfect fit and received a call the same day she applied.
She discovered her love for data during training and gained experience with industry-specific platforms. Sarina is now an Insurance Operations Specialist at a healthcare tech company. She has great benefits and works remotely, allowing her to be there for her sister who is now in middle school. Now, she is able to put money away for her future.Next participant
“There’s a difference between a job and a career – a career offers longevity. Once you graduate, everything is there for you. My life started when I graduated.”
Shawn has always worked hard, but found himself in dead-end jobs that did not offer advancement. With two children to raise, the bills were mounting; he needed a change. While working as a seasonal custodian, he saw a flyer for Red Hook on the Road. He knew a Commercial Driver’s License could help him get a good job and was excited the training was free.
Two months after graduating, Shawn was hired as a Bus Operator for the MTA and recently became the first in his family to own their home.Next participant
“It’s not just about getting a job. Now I can take care of myself, and be dependable for my siblings. I want to tell everyone about Brooklyn Woods.”
When Mark lost his mother in 2020, he lost more than the head of his household – he also lost his boss. She had taught him the family trade of being a “handy-man”, but with the new responsibilities of helping take care of his siblings, Mark needed to make more than what his freelance gigs were bringing in. A client suggested he apply to Brooklyn Woods.
After completing training, Mark started working full-time in a high-end frame shop. He says he’s doing what he loves, but now he’s doing it on a professional level.Next participant
“Words can’t even explain it. Next to my daughter, this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Jerry went to jail at age 22, around the time his daughter was born. When he got out, he started driving for Uber because he didn’t want to do things he used to in order to provide for his young daughter. Driving was above board, but it was strenuous and didn’t provide a real career path.
Jerry met a film and television Production Assistant while driving one day. He asked how he could get into the film & television industry and she told him about the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program.
He is now 28 and his daughter is 5. He loves his job as a Locations Assistant and recently received a pay bump. Beyond his wages, he belongs to a union now – Local IATSE 187.
“Now I have time for my kids and money for their extracurriculars.”
Christine turned to BWI after her husband was injured and could no longer work. She needed to find a job to support their young children but didn’t know where to start. After she saw flyers for BWI in her NYCHA building, Christine joined the NYCHA Resident Training Academy.
Now, Christine is an Exterminator with NYCHA. She enjoys working close to home and has room to advance. BWI even helped Christine get a promotion this year; she is excited about the many career options in her future.Next participant