Alberto first sought guidance from mentors at The Unity Council at seventeen after facing a violent altercation in high school. He was determined to switch pathways and look for ways to take control over his future.
Through the two years participating in the OYE (Oakland Youth Engaged) program, Alberto embraced the newfound values of accountability and better judgment as a path to a productive life. Now 24 years old, Alberto recalls one of his favorite experiences at OYE was working at Posada de Colores Senior Housing and getting to know a handful of seniors that looked after him as if he was their grandchild. Alberto recalls his OYE working experience at Posada and says, “I received great advice from the senior residents that I still use today.”
Alberto says OYE saved his life, while he acquired resume building skills and underwent internships and career opportunities, his friends were either getting incarcerated, involved in prostitution, or heavily abused drugs and alcohol.
“It wasn’t the life that I wanted for myself,” said Alberto. “I didn’t want to see the same faces that influenced me to drink, smoke, or drive around and get into trouble.”
Several years later, Alberto continues to apply the same work skills, and work ethics learned through the program and developed his entrepreneurship “hussle.”
Alberto currently works at night as a security guard at the Transamerica building in San Francisco. “It feels good going to work to make money to provide for my mom and enjoy the beautiful view of San Francisco.” A percentage of his wages is sent to his father in Nicaragua, who manages their jointly owned barbershop in Managua, the country’s capital.
In addition to his security guard job, Alberto owns an apparel label named Nicoya, a selection of Nicaraguan-influenced graphic tees and hats curated by him and sold on platforms like Instagram. He is also interested in launching a YouTube channel focused on bringing positivity for inner city youth. “I would like to use the platform to find ways to show others that same “hussle” that I found that is not in guns, drugs or out in the streets.”
Alberto’s parents are proud of his endless work ethic because they see he is going after his dreams of making enough money to buy a home in the Bay Area. “Now with everything going up, you need to hustle. I’m not stopping anytime soon because more doors are opening for me,” said Alberto.
Alberto credits OYE for diverting him into a world of endless possibilities, including discovering a passion for travel. “I’m not behind bars, I’m traveling the world, and unfortunately my friends [behind bars] can’t,” he said. Alberto looks forward to his next adventure, visiting the beach and sampling the food in Colombia.
“I am thankful to The Unity Council for giving me the tools to have control over my life. You can’t put a value from the way my life has benefitted participating in OYE.”