Rosa is 20 years old. This week, she started working the factory line at a fiberglass company in the city of Commerce, along with two other Homeboy Industries' trainees. Rosa talked to Homeboy Stories on her last day here, and the following are all her words.
“I’m excited that I’m starting this but then again I’m sad I’m leaving Homeboy, this is my passion right here. I’ve been here almost three years; I guess it’s time to leave the nest.
I want to be able to prove that I can work somewhere. Maybe this is a test- I want to prove that I’m ready, I want to make everyone here proud.
I’ve known G since I was 12, when I was in Juvenile Hall. I grew up around the gang lifestyle, everyone else was doing it, I didn’t really know anything else that I could do. I started in middle school, at 11, went to Juvenile hall when I was 12, jumped into a gang at 13. What made me leave everything behind was my son- if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have changed my perspective about life and gang banging.
In the hospital giving birth, there’s doctors there’s family, you hardly get a moment alone. But when that moment of truth came when it was me and my son; when they rolled that little crib in I turned around and I stared at him and I thought.. that’s my son. I knew then, I felt this overpowering feeling come upon me and I knew I was a mother. I knew that I didn’t want my son to gang bang, I didn’t want him to be exposed to any of that.
During my pregnancy I started looking for a job. I went to more than 200 places- we’d leave at 7 in the morning and walk all day applying for jobs with no money in our pockets. Finally I came to G. You don’t have to beat around the bush with G, I just said ‘I’m pregnant, I need a job. I want to provide for my son.’
As soon as I got here no one judged me, no one cared where I was from. I learned responsibility, how to give up my attitude from the past, the vocabulary of being in a professional place. I’m excited because really, I’ve never had a job that makes good money. I told G the other day that it was an honor to have worked by his side, and I mean that with deepest sincerity that has ever existed in my heart. He replied ‘No, it was my honor.’”
Rosa hopes to return to school someday and get her Master's in Sociology. If you or your business would like to add a homie to your team, contact our job development department at firstname.lastname@example.org