I grew up in Pasadena and LA. I was raised by mom only and had two other siblings. Left home when 14 years old. I left because my mom meant well but I felt like my mom was too tough. I lived in the streets selling drugs, stealing cars, whatever it took to survive. I lived in several group homes.
I went to prison the first time when I was 17, east county jail for grand theft auto. I was in for 16 months. I have spent half my years in prison, I am now 50. I went in for anything from receiving stolen property, selling drugs, stealing commercial property and gang activity.
I took a welding course in prison but could not finish it because I got transferred. Dec 2, 2011 got out of prison, but the 4 years I was in before, I decided I was going to change my life and use my talents and abilities to live in a honest way. Since being home, I have not been perfect but am doing well.
My first job was building maintenance and I lived at work. I started a shoe shine business, handyman service and selling antique/vintage goods. Now that I am learning welding, I already am getting jobs to repair steel structures and make fences.
I heard about ReIgnite Hope from a former student. I wanted to take the class to finish the class I started in prison.
In 5 years I want to have a house, use my welding to expand my company and live a good, honest life! I want to start more programs like ReIgnite Hope to help kids to gain skills like welding and mechanics.