Youth Highlight: Juan

“OPP is a blessing. It’s opportunity. Take advantage of it.”

Juan Rivera is looking for a place of his own.

Growing up, Juan fell in with the wrong group of friends. He got into trouble. He started missing school. Then his dream to become a marine was dashed when he was rejected as disabled.

So when he arrived at OPPortunity Academy, Juan brought a bad attitude with him.

But that changed quickly. Juan realized how many others would love to have his spot. With OPP’s guidance, he buckled down. “You work hard enough; you get things you want.”

His new attitude carried him through OPPortunity Academy, and into Asnuntuck Community College with OPP’s manufacturing program. The first in his family to go to college, Juan took every opportunity and every internship OPP offered him.

But would he find a job?

OPP set up an interview with a manufacturing company, where Juan began a three month internship. Then he was offered an apprenticeship. Juan was on his way.

Juan has almost completed his apprenticeship. Completion means a nice wage increase. Now he can look for his own place: an apartment or even a house.

Juan’s been back to talk with students at OPP. He tells them, “It’s overwhelming when you first start. But it’s so worth it in the end.”