My goals and dreams for the next 10 years are to (1) have my bachelor’s or master’s degree, (2) have an opportunity to travel, (3) have a better spirituality level and connection to my faith, (4) own my own home, car, and small business, and (5) mentor a youth who is going through a tough time or a similar situation that I went through.

Being charged as an adult and having a criminal record has negatively affected my career opportunities and forced me to settle for less. I’ve been to interviews where I’ve felt like the perfect candidate, but have gotten passed over by someone with a clean background. I started looking for any job just to pay the bills. I’ve taken jobs making the bear minimum of wages because employers feel that your record is who you are. People tend to judge a person before they get a chance to really know them. With those jobs there are limited career opportunities for growth, competitive wages and benefits. Having a record has made me feel like a second class citizen that will be unemployed for extended periods of my life.

At times I feel like these barriers make my dreams impossible or difficult to achieve. But barriers are built to be broken. I won’t let this be an excuse not to work hard because the odds are against me.  I will use this for motivation and pursue my goals and dreams with a relentless drive.