I grew up living with 15 other people in my grandmother’s apartment in East Harlem. Watching my mother struggle with drug addiction was the hardest part. I knew I wanted a different future.

I was unemployed for 8 months. Each night I went to bed discouraged, after filling out dozens of job applications, knowing the next day would be the same.

It was time to do something different, so I enrolled in SSBx. During the training, I helped rebuild an apartment after Hurricane Sandy! It meant so much to be able to help others.

Now, I work on an energy auditing team. We make sure lighting systems meet energy-efficiency codes. I am now living in my own apartment, saving up, and dreaming of managing my own construction company some day. My mom tells me how proud she is. That means everything.
-Takoya B., age 25, SSBx graduate