Making a difference in your community looks different for everyone. For Tevin Gladney, a Peer Connector with King County’s Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS), making a difference in his community is something he can do every day at work. Tevin is with the Reconnect to Opportunity program from DCHS’ Employment and Education Resources, which regularly provides equitable opportunities for youth and adults to prepare for and obtain great jobs.
Just recently, Tevin received a referral from a school counselor at Renton High School introducing him to a student who was struggling with staying engaged in school. The student was not on track to graduate due to a lack of credits, did not have a supportive home environment and was uninterested in most of his classes.
Wanting to build a relationship with this student, Tevin connected with him around several shared interests, including business and entrepreneurship. Tevin shared books they could both read and discuss, and discussed art, prompting this student to share his artwork and dream of developing an art-based business.
“I grew up in this community in south King County and I know exactly what it is like to be in their shoes,” he said. “I also understand the value of having a mentor and connector by their side to make sure they are on the right path.”
After further working with this student, Tevin referred him to Renton Technical College’s Open Doors high school completion program and helped him to enroll. The student began to excel, inspired by a change and the fact he could finish high school in a supportive and flexible environment. The best part is he would now have the opportunity to walk in the commencement ceremony, and work towards an Associate’s Degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship.
This support and encouragement by Tevin and other dedicated adults motivated this student to finish high school and gain a direction for furthering his education and a career. Tevin explains this work is meaningful to him because it makes a direct impact on a community he is passionate about.
“I love doing this work because honestly, it does not feel like work to me,” he said. “I am thankful to have a job where I can make a direct impact on our youth’s lives.”
For more information about the Reconnect to Opportunity program, visit www.reopp.org. To learn about the services available through the King County Employment and Education Resources visit their page on the King County website.