My Story: Jorge Nieves

I’m a junior at the Denver School of the Arts in Denver, CO.  I first encountered Goodwill Industries of Denver’s youth services program through a class I took at my school taught by a Goodwill® teacher. The class focused on career and college prep.

My Goodwill teacher noticed I was struggling in school. She took extra time to work with me and eventually suggested I consider joining Goodwill’s mentorship program. She said having a mentor would give me someone to talk to for additional support and might help me improve my grades.

I was dealing with a lot at home. My parents got divorced, and my dad moved to California.  My mom was working two jobs just to pay the bills, and my brother came back from Afghanistan with PTSD.

Goodwill paired me with my mentor Nate, who is awesome. Before moving to Denver, Nate worked in LA creating music videos. With Nate’s background in music production and my focus in school on film and cinema, we have a ton in common.

Nate and I can do anything together, and we’ll have fun. We go to sporting events together, or we’ll go to a restaurant to watch a game during playoffs. We’re both into film, so we  go to the movies together. We’ve made music videos together.

Nate helps to keep me on track and now I’m getting much better grades.  Last semester, I had all As and Bs, and also have secured my first professional internship. I really feel like I have someone in my life that cares about my success.

My involvement with Nate and Goodwill has made me a better person. Before I got involved with Goodwill, I didn’t know much about community service and volunteering, but Nate and all the people I have met through Goodwill have been such a great example.

This spring, Goodwill Industries of Denver awarded me the Bright Future Award at their annual The Power of Work luncheon.  They gave me this award because I worked hard to overcome the challenges in my life. I didn’t give up and take the easier path of dropping out of school or joining a gang like so many kids in my neighborhood do. I reached out for help from Goodwill and took advantage of their programs and opportunities they gave me.

Attending the luncheon was a great experience too. I got to meet a lot of important business leaders and successful people like the Denver mayor.  I know winning the award made my mom and my family proud.

This fall, I will be a senior in high school. It’s an important year for me. My goal is to get into a good college and study film, business or sports management. I know I would like to be a mentor for Goodwill someday too.

Watch a video about Jorge.

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