“You can be whatever you want to be.”
We’ve all heard that saying, but is it really true? Sadly, for many young people it’s not fact, but fiction.
I’ll share with you a story. A young man named Alex grew up in Washington, DC, to a single mother, who worked two jobs to make sure Alex and his brothers had a decent life. Alex wanted to be a doctor when he grew up, but no one in his family had even attended college, so he had no idea how to make his dream a reality. When Alex was a teen-ager, he got caught up with the wrong crowd and was introduced to drugs. By the time he was 19 his dreams of being a doctor had all but flat-lined.
This story troubles me not so much because Alex made some bad choices, but because someone could have stepped in and made all the difference in Alex’s world.
Businesses are in the perfect position to step in to make sure young people like Alex get the opportunities they need. The mortgage industry in particular can give young people not only experience, but a strong financial foundation to support them for the rest of their lives. By reaching out to young people we also strengthen our bonds in the communities in which we serve. When we provide young people with internships and training, we ensure our own longevity as we prepare tomorrow’s workforce.
HomeFree-USA is committed to helping to train the next generation through our signature program SOAR (Shaping Outstanding Adolescents to Reach Excellence), which gives young people like Alex a place to gain leadership and financial management skills while working in a professional environment.
We’ve had many success stories. Take Carlos Palencia, who moved to the United States from El Salvador when he was six. In his early teens, Carlos’ grades began to suffer but then he began taking part in SOAR. He became an intern at HomeFree-USA in his freshman year in high school. Here at HomeFree-USA, he worked with staff and clients, improved his people skills and gained new confidence. The hard work paid off because this year Carlos received a full scholarship to George Washington University, becoming the first person in his family to attend college.
I don’t tell this story to tout what HomeFree-USA has done. I use it as an example of what all of us in the mortgage industry have the power to do.
As an industry, I challenge all of us to commit to giving young people the mentorship, the training and the experience to envision a better future.
And then our youth will truly be able to be what they want to be.