In 2018, Maximiliano completed his GED with Steepletown and enrolled in a paid work experience/internship. After connecting with his Career Coach and evaluating career interests, Maximiliano was introduced to Adnoris ‘Bo’ Torres, Fatherhood Coordinator for the Strong Beginnings/Family Futures initiative. Max interned in the capacity of a Community Health Worker. Bo provided him with frequent teachable moments and access to information that informed Maximiliano on pathways to a career within this field.
Fast forward two years- Maximiliano now serves as the Fatherhood Community Health Worker of the Strong Beginnings program. He credits much of this opportunity to the guidance from both his Steepletown Career Coach Emiliano and worksite supervisor Bo. Recently both of them were asked to reflect on their experiences together.
Max Q1: At the time you began your work experience with the Padres Fuertes program, you hadn’t yet had much experience in that type of work environment. What was it like, and why was it important to you?
“I never thought I would work in this type of environment, the field of community health work. If I am completely honest I never thought I would work toward trying to better and support my community. I remember I spoke with Emilio who asked what I wanted to do and I said “a firefighter” but time passed and having Emilio alongside opened an avenue for me. I wanted to help fathers just like me. I wanted to show up for dad’s just like the men who have shown up for me. Being presented then to BO and interning at Strong Beginnings Padres Fuertes Initiative, it felt this is exactly what I said I wanted to do. I felt I needed to prove myself when in reality the expectation was for me to learn and grow. Being a single full-time dad myself I knew what I needed and so in this work I know what I want to be.”
Bo Q1: You had been informed that there was a Steepletown participant with little-to-no experience in community health, but interested in learning about it as an avenue for professional growth. What factors influenced your decision to agree and supervise/mentor this young person?
“First, it was the respect that I had for the program/programs of Steepletown. Having that knowledge of the organization gave me the confidence in the person that I would be working with. We have all had those moments in our lives where someone has taken a chance on us. I had the brotherhood ( SIGMA LAMBDA BETA ) for a lot of my experiences, opportunities, successes , and failures. As a member of our community now it is our chance to give opportunities to others. Whether they decide that they should continue down this path, choose another, or to gain experience, it is our role to now walk alongside those persons in the community to offer those experiences.”
Max Q2: What did you gain from the work experience? What was an unexpected highlight?
“I gained so much knowledge in fatherhood and data that made me realize how impactful being a dad is and how important the work in fatherhood is to our communities. Learning to give presentations and how to set myself up for success. But the most unexpected thing had to be the relationships I built. The networking piece was so amazing to me. Getting to meet all types of people I would want to partner with, to grow and learn from. But the best part of this was getting to know Bo and creating a relationship that I value so much.”
Bo Q2: As an employer partner and/or supervisor, what did you gain from providing a work experience?
“Getting to know Maximilliano gave me the opportunity to learn of his story, to gain knowledge of the community, and to know more of what some of the obstacles were for young men facing some of the same issues he faced. By mentoring him it allowed me to not only gain perspective, but Maximilliano had an impact on all of our team over at Strong Beginnings. We saw the opportunity to pour into him as a team and provide that sense of professional cohesion that we enjoy. Having someone that I/we were /are accountable to serve as an example to be our better selves.”
Max Q3: Now, with more experience, you’ve taken on a role of the coordinator of the Padres Fuertes Initiative – truly made a positive circle. What does it mean to you?
“I’m blessed and I didn’t expect to be in this role so soon. To be considered was a big accomplishment itself for me and to be given the opportunity to work, it’s amazing! I would not be here without the leadership and guidance of Emilio and Bo. I would not be here if I didn’t push myself and dedicate time to craft myself. I am blessed, now I want do my part and walk alongside those who feel alone and seek support, like I did.”
Bo Q3: Similar question. What’s it like to see Maximiliano providing the services in this role, after providing him with the initial experience in the field?
“Amazing. He has grown so much in the time that we have known each other. For him to be in a position where he now impacts lives, creates literature, develops messaging, and is now facilitating conversations, it has been extremely fulfilling. He is an example as to what we can accomplish when we give fully without ego to the greater growth of others. It is an example to me that by providing those opportunities for growth, failure, and success, we create a better ecosystem for those that could follow our lead to make those paths wider for the generations that follow.”