Uniting the Community: Ezechiele’s Story

Ezechiele at workA high school student in Fort Pierce, Ezechiele has a wide range of interests. He enjoys playing basketball, football, and video games with his friends. But also comments that Math is his favorite subject in school. After being referred to employU in October 2021, Ezechiele met his job coach, Kyra. Kyra was able to find an opportunity for a paid Work-Based Learning Experience (WBLE) with United Against Poverty for Ezechiele to gain some hands-on workplace experience.  

United Against Poverty is a nonprofit organization with campuses in Indian River County, Orlando, and St. Lucie County, Florida. Also referred to as UP center, United Against Poverty works within the community to provide assistance with case management, crisis care, education, employment training and placement, food and household subsidy, personal empowerment training and active referrals to other collaborative social service providers. An employU community partner who truly shares our values, UP center St. Lucie takes an active role in serving those in need, averaging 500+ individuals served each day.  

One of the many services and forms of assistance UP center offers to the community is a Member Grocery Center. Through this program, qualified families fill out an application and receive a free Member Card upon qualification. With the Member Card, families can go to the Grocery Center and select any foods or household products they may need.  

Excited to gain experience, Ezechiele took on several tasks at the Member Grocery Center as part of his first WBLE. These job duties included organizing, stocking, and facing all items on the shelves. Additionally, he also gathered grocery carts and bagged groceries for customers. With the help of his job coach, Ezechiele improved his verbal communication during this WBLE by practicing with Kyra. This one-on-one practice gave him the confidence he needed to increase his communication with customers and feel more self-assured overall.  

Upbeat and positive throughout this experience, Ezechiele successfully completed his WBLE at United Against Poverty and is looking forward to continuing his journey with employU to gain further work experience, explore other industries, and learn more job skills that will give him a head start when transitioning into the workforce in the future.  To learn more about our Work-Based Learning Experiences visit https://employu.org/youth-paid-work-based-learning/ or contact us below. 

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