Enrique #SuccessBells

October 1, 2016

Enrique grew up thinking that people with jobs were different than he was. He was a tattoo-covered, Hispanic male with a history of substance abuse. Going to an office or having a 9-to-5 was never something that he would have the opportunity to do. With a series of arrests starting when he was a teenager, Enrique was convinced that the deck was stacked against him. However, upon his most recent release, he decided that he was ready for something else.

Enrique came to Chrysalis full of determination. He knew he would have to overcome challenges including his limited work experience, lack of high school diploma, and criminal record. But Chrysalis staff and volunteers helped Enrique build his resume and practice interviewing so he’d be ready for potential employers. With assistance, Enrique learned more about online job search tools and utilizing a computer. Amazed at his Employment Specialist’s enthusiasm, he reflects, “If I had an idea, she would bring it to life.”

Even with his positive attitude and new resume, the fact remained that Enrique simply needed a break. So his Employment Specialist set up an interview opportunity for him with Chrysalis’ transitional jobs program. He was hired on to a street maintenance team were he worked diligently for the next 8 months while continuing his job search.

During this time, Enrique and his Employment Specialist also discussed the possibility of him re-obtaining his driver’s license after having lost it over 20 years prior. Although he doubted that he would ever get it back, his uncertainties were met with a “Let’s do it!” attitude. The license would turn out to be very important because not too soon afterward, he landed a job!

Using the networking skills he developed at Chrysalis, Enrique found an opportunity working as a porter for a car rental company—where having a license has been essential. For the first time in his life, Enrique is working full-time, earning a living wage, and sees opportunity for advancement. What’s more, he has his own apartment and can proudly shares, “I am responsible. I have financial freedom. I am independent. Chrysalis helped me find a job in the worker’s world…a legitimate job, so that I can maintain financial freedom.”

Enrique is proud to share his story because he wants his mother and children to see all that he has accomplished. Continuing to work toward earning his GED, Enrique has warmed up a little to the idea of having a job and the financial independence that comes with it.

A new part of life has opened for Enrique. Even travel restrictions from his convictions have dropped, and he is looking forward to planning a trip to San Francisco. Because of a job, Enrique can finally make plans for his life that go beyond the four walls of a penitentiary. He puts it best: “I feel like my life has been enriched. My life has value. I feel like I am part of something, and it’s because Chrysalis prepared me for it.”

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