Mario on his growth in TEEMworks
Mario was raised in a tough neighborhood and made some bad decisions early in life. He was ultimately arrested as a teenager for a felony and struggled to find meaningful employment after serving his time. Without a job it became very hard to support himself and his children, so Mario struggled to remain optimistic. TEEMworks helped Mario change his life around by helping him realize opportunities in his future.
What did TEEMworks do?
As a graduate of the first TEEMworks cohort, Mario spent six weeks developing soft skills, working on his resume, and preparing for a trades-related career. He says that as great as the information he learned was, the most value was just giving him a place to go outside his house and something to look forward to. As his spirits lifted, his talents emerged, and he became an informal mentor to some of the other students in his cohort. Having graduated high school in 1995, it was the first time that Mario had been in a classroom setting in a while. It was a nice opportunity to reset and refocus, which ultimately led him to chances to work jobs he enjoyed. Mario also opened a savings account at Bryn Mawr Trust through the program, which was the first savings account he ever had.
Mario’s first job after TEEMworks was in a shop on Main Street that was moving to a new location in Manayunk and had to pack up their basement, which had become a dumping location. Mario spent about a month working everyday to help clean up, organize, and ultimately move inventory to the new location. He did such a good job that his name quickly became known by multiple Manayunk store owners who contracted him. His work ethic and attitude were admired by all who hired him as he grew the savings account he started through TEEMworks. After months of working part-time jobs, Mario interviewed and got a full-time job working for a high end hotel chain in Philadelphia. He continues to learn and grow, and sees TEEMworks as having started a second chance at life for him.