My Story: Michael Graham

Throughout my life I struggled. So when I’m asked to name my challenges I would have to say it’s too many to count. All throughout life it feels like everything was an obstacle. School was often one of the toughest things I had to overcome. A lot of times I was either in trouble, getting bullied or fighting. Then I eventually quit school thinking I would be able to make it without an education. But I quickly realized my mistake. I’m just glad that I figured it out before it was too late, and decided to at least go back and get my GED without any problems.
One day, I heard an advertisement for the Goodwill of Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa YouthBuild Omaha Program on the radio. While I wasn’t completely convinced the program would be a good fit, I enrolled later that month. After two weeks, I knew that YouthBuild was for me. I was finally going to receive the help and support I needed to find a better place in my life.
Upon earning my GED I wanted to remain part of a winning team and continue to serve in the community by volunteering to work with grade school age children as a mentor. As a mentor I provide positive guidance to the children using the social skills curriculum I learned while attending the Boys Town Time to Enrich program. I teach and demonstrate the basic social skills that will assist the young people to be successful in school and in life. The skills I want all of my students to pay close attention to are: Listening, Following Instructions, Asking Permission, Accepting NO Answers, and Staying Calm. I am currently enrolled at Metropolitan Community College, with a focus on a career in positive Community Development.
Being in YouthBuild you are offered a lot of services. I remember getting a list of certifications from home building to CPR, and even parenting certifications. Things I didn’t even think about ever needing in life. But now I have them and don’t know what to do with them. But it’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have. I will use some of it one day. But it’s great I was offered all of that in one program.
I believe that the people there saved my life. I think that YouthBuild helped me do a complete 180. I was going down the wrong road looking at a lot of jail time. And all the time I had to think, I made a decision to stop wasting time and get what they have to offer. They are the main reason for my success and what I do. They helped me and now I help others and it brings me a lot of comfort knowing that I can do good being all that had happened before I was a part of their program. You would have sworn I was a different person.