TC Williams High School senior Jeovanny Diaz said that before joining Urban Alliance, he had been “struggling a lot,” but this program gave him something productive to do outside of school, gave him confidence in his future, and gave him a support system to help him meet his goals.
Jeovanny started the program with a six-week professional skills bootcamp. “I learned a lot,” he said. “They taught us about how to build your resume, how you should dress, what you should say in interviews, what type of questions you should ask … They taught me a lot of things that I’m pretty sure aren’t taught in school.”
Even after learning these new professional skills, Jeovanny’s first day on the job at the United Way was a little nerve-wracking. “It was an eye-opening experience for me because I’ve never actually worked a professional job,” he said. “I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know how people would react.”
Jeovanny was welcomed with open arms, and quickly became an asset on the job, assisting with communication to high-level contacts, as well as completing important data management projects in Salesforce.
He is grateful for the push this program has given him to do better. “It’s actually forced me to get out of the house and actually go communicate with people,” he said. “I feel like I have built up my self-confidence when it comes to speaking, because I’m kind of a shy person. I don’t usually talk. I can say I have more confidence in myself now.”
For Jeovanny, the biggest impact of this program is the support system he has gained as he manages the tricky transition from high school to adulthood, especially his Urban Alliance program coordinator, Stefanie. “She helped me so much,” he said. “She helped with my [Northern Virginia Community College] application and helped me complete my FAFSA. She’s always there when I need her and I feel like I can always reach out to her and she will always be there for me when I need it … It’s a relief because [before] I didn’t know who to go to when I had a question about FASFA or NOVA or things like that.”
Jeovanny wants the students who follow in his footsteps to know that Urban Alliance “is a great opportunity for them to learn new things, to get some new skills for the professional field – and that will help them in the future if they put their hearts into it.” Jeovanny has certainly put his heart into Urban Alliance – and is determined to finish strong by improving his time management skills and leaving a good impression on all of his coworkers – even while now working remotely.
As he looks toward the future – studying biology at Northern Virginia Community College for his dream career in zoology – he’s feeling ready, and optimistic. “I’m more prepared,” he said. “I’m excited because I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen.”