Not Just New Trainees, Some Are Finding Their Way Back to Hopeworks.

When youth make the decision to walk through the doors of Hopeworks, they are seeking access and opportunity to tech and IT skills and a living wage job – – and sometimes just a safe space to belong. We promise them an opportunity to change their lives and a life-long connection. Through Hopeworks, youth are able to build their social capital and have a place to belong.  Just as youth leave the program for a myriad of reasons, they return in the same vein. The pandemic created challenging times for many, but when others didn’t have an option, thanks to our friends and supporters, our youth had Hopeworks. 

Da’Shek came to Hopeworks after completing High School and preparing for college. After completing a year and a half at Rowan, Da’shek ran out of funding for school. Hopeworks connected him to AmeriCorps Techserv Scholars, a one-year service-learning program designed to give youth IT skills that they could, in turn, give back to children and youth in their respective communities. After completing that program, Da’Shek fell on hard times and thought he had exhausted all of his options, so he turned to Hopeworks. He reached out to Dan Rhoton, who reminded him that he always has a connection and family at Hopeworks. Da’Shek says that he knew when he came through the doors again, “Hopeworks would give me resources, connections, and opportunities”.


Paola was living in a tenuous household, but she was committed to completing her training and was well on her way. Paola was considered a star trainee and was even named the Trainee of the Week. Suddenly Paola stopped communicating with staff and was unreachable. What we didn’t know at the time was Paola became homeless and was living in a shelter. After reconciling her relationship with her mom, Paola obtained stable housing. Her next thought was “Will I stay home and be lazy or go back’. She decided on the latter. Paola realized that it was time to change her life and she knew that Hopeworks was the place to do it.  When asked about what she was thinking when she walked through Hopework’s doors again, she replied “Through these doors are going to be great opportunities”.