Fernando wanted to make a change in his life before he applied to YouthBuild. “I did not have my high school diploma and there were a lot of events that happened in a row that made me realize I could easily be doing better for myself.” Fernando had heard of YouthBuild a few years back and decided to make the first step towards his future by reaching out and applying. “YouthBuild showed me a support system and that there are people out there beside your own family that will motivate you and help push you in the right direction,” Fernando said. “YouthBuild really cares about their members and wants them to succeed.” In his time in the program, he completed his high school diploma and earned several industry recognized credentials. “I have always had an interest in construction and earning my forklift certification at YouthBuild led me to a lot of better opportunities.” Fernando now works full time at Culligan, where he uses his forklift certification as a material handler. In the future, he plans to apply for an apprenticeship in the trades. “Right now, I am focused on saving money. I plan to help my mother pay off her house and I am saving for a house of my own. I know that when the time is right, I can reach back out to YouthBuild and use them as a resource to get into a good apprenticeship program. What makes Fernando hopeful for the future is knowing that this is just the beginning. “I have goals for myself and for my future. Some great advice that I was told is that no one is going to flip the switch for you. If you are determined to do better for yourself, you have to go out and make it happen.” That’s just what Fernando is doing.