“The idea was nothing new; it wasn’t as though no one had mentioned wanting to do this or something similar in the past. It just took enough willing young people to take the necessary steps to see it through. Hopeworks is a fantastic organization that, over the years, has provided skills and opportunities to youth, and for as long as it remains, it will continue to do so. As Hopeworks grows in size, it will also continue to improve how it impacts youth as they train and beyond. Thus, the implementation of an Alumni Advisory Board became a reality and members were selected to help lead and provide an “early career” professional perspective for Hopeworks. We want to help push the ideas that will benefit more Hopeworks youth and alumni and find a way to allocate the necessary resources that would support their professional progression. 

Members were selected for their passion and desire to serve and recruited across multiple disciplines/fields so they could offer different perspectives on how to approach projects. We have in mind the idea to tackle the business aspects of helping youth as well as emotional and mental health challenges. It is essential to understand youth’s lived experiences, create more positive experiences and help reduce negativity moving forward for the individual and the collective community. In totality, we are here to represent and help significantly increase positive change in the lives of Hopeworks youth and alumni.” 

Meet the Hopeworks Alumni Advisory Board Members:

Corey Thorpe

Willem Schrieks

Patrick Findlator

James Hill

Charlene Newbill

Leaundra Mccullough

Kayla Evans

Sekinah Brodie

Kayana Clue

Early in the pandemic we reported that Patrice Ingram had moved into an internship at North10.  Patrice had come to Hopeworks to obtain technology skills that would complement her degree in Psychology and improve her career options. Now we are excited to share that Patrice has started a full time, permanent position with Benefits Data Trust as a Benefits Outreach Specialist!

Patrice brings the exact skill set needed to be successful in this role where she will provide public benefits education and online application assistance to low-income individuals.  Patrice will assist individuals in overcoming the primary barriers to participation in public assistance programs through education, helping to reduce their fear of stigma, helping them navigate the online application process, and facilitating communication between all parties.

Back in May, Patrice shared that, “Being a part of the Hopeworks family is rewarding and fulfilling. I am so fortunate to have such an amazing organization that is Hopeworks as support. I am excited to see what my future holds in store!”

Now we know, her future includes being a problem solver and helping others in the community!

Brandon Rodriguez finished his Web Design internship with Hopeworks and is now focusing on his successful graphic design business! He produces professional products such as websites, business cards, logos, and branding collateral; as well as invitations and album covers. He also prints his designs on merchandise like t-shirts, and totes. On the wide scope of products his business offers, Brandon says, “As a graphic designer, I love that I am able to adapt my creativity to a grand expanse of products to fit almost any need.”  Brandon also benefits from the Entrepreneurship Class here at Hopeworks as he works to grow his business.

Inspiration for his personal designs come from Brandon’s past experiences, inspirational people in his life, and his emotions. But his inspiration for his professional designs are much more client-focused, Brandon states that he likes to put himself  “in the shoes of the viewer and imagine what the client or the audience would want to feel when they see this design.” His goal for his design business and online store is to improve the Camden community by “aiding Camden based businesses and organizations” by creating attractive designs that help generate business in his home city.

Brandon is thankful for the help he received at Hopeworks: “I came to Hopeworks thinking I was just going to get a quick graphic design internship, but Hopeworks provided me with a foundation of support that I never knew I needed.” As his career develops, Brandon realizes that Hopeworks taught him “that it is ok to ask for help,” in both his professional life and his personal life. Brandon is excited to be able to commit himself fully to his business, but knows he’ll miss it here at Hopeworks: “Sometimes a great thing has to end for another great thing to begin.” So many kind words were shared about Brandon at his send-off party.  We look forward to watching him make him build a successful business!

Check out Brandon’s amazing work here! http://www.bicrv.com



808 Market St 3rd Floor
Camden, NJ 08102
(856) 365-4673
Hopeworks is a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization, EIN: 31-1660671.
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