Antonio’s Story: Looking forward to what’s next

February 22, 2023

Antonio (he/him) is a recent graduate of FareStart’s Online Learning Program who heard about us from a friend who had taken the course. After hearing a lot of positive feedback about FareStart, Antonio knew exactly what he wanted to do; when the time was right, he joined the House of Mercy and enrolled in FareStart’s Online Learning Program.

At first, Antonio said that an all-virtual training program seemed a little scary. “I was locked up and even though I did work with computers, it was all old stuff, so like stuff that was used back in the early nineties. But coming out and then interacting with the new operating systems, it’s kind of scary.” Antonio prides himself on being a quick learner and soon began to adapt and to see the value of an online learning community. “Being the closed-off person that I am, sitting in front of a camera, in a group of people you really don’t know, was a little bit easier to do virtually instead of in person. Virtual helped me come out of my shell and be a bit more open and honest with people. It was very enlightening.”

Antonio said his favorite part of the program was learning about transferable skills and self-empowerment. “I realized all my skills have a purpose that leads to getting a good job. I just needed to learn how to word it correctly, to put them on a resume. Because it’s like, okay, I do all these things, A, B, C, D, E, but how do I translate my strengths, the skillset I have, onto paper to paint a picture of my potential?” Ultimately, examining his strengths helped Antonio rediscover his sense of self-worth. “It helped me realize that I am worth something, not just being seen as what happened in my past, because I’ve got more to offer than just my past.”

Antonio quickly excelled at translating his skills onto paper and was recently hired at Grand Central Bakery as the night shift production manager. After graduating and starting his job, Antonio has set a new goal -- to buy a car so he won't have to take the bus after his graveyard shifts. He has learned to be patient with himself and have the grace and self-confidence to know that he is capable of anything, even if it doesn’t happen overnight.

“It’s like how I go to the gym every day, change is just not going to happen overnight, the body changes gradually, and slowly starts taking shape. I've just got to be patient; it's going to happen. I just got to be determined and have that constant drive, the ambition of wanting what I want and knowing I deserve that.”

When asked what advice he has for someone thinking about joining FareStart’s training program, Antonio said “Do it! Be open about it, don't be closed off. Come in with a positive mindset and be patient. Just take all that information and apply it.”