The word Taller in spanish means “workshop”. If you get a chance to visit one of their facilities, you understand that what gets built in their workshop is hope. This excerpt from their web site underscores the important role that Taller San Jose Hope Builders in helping us realize the mission of OC Pathways. “Hope Builders empowers disconnected young people, who are in danger of not reaching their full potential, with the job training and life skills needed to move out of poverty and achieve enduring personal and professional success”.
Visit their main Santa Ana campus where they host their medical academy and you see this mission in action. If you pull into the parking lot during break time you get a sense that something is different here when you recognize that all of the students are dressed in hospital scrubs. That’s because students enrolled in this life changing program are not simply learning about work in health professions, they are thinking and acting like healthcare professionals. As stated on their site, “Hope Builders believes that young people don’t learn how to work by sitting in a classroom; therefore, each training academy simulates the workforce and models real-world experiences”. The scrubs are not for show, these are uniforms worn with pride as students participate in academies that run from 16-20 weeks. During that period students are receiving a weekly $100 pay-check (stipend) and the have to earn it by arriving at work on time and drug free, demonstrating respect and professionalism.
If you take the opportunity to listen to the stories about the challenges that these students have had to overcome, you walk away with a deeper belief in the power of education to transform lives.