My earliest memories are of days spent roaming with my family and never settling down. We moved from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico to get out of the poverty we lived in. Eventually, we landed just north of Boston. After years of wandering, it was a relief to settle down, and be able to go to the same school every day.
While I was able to get an education at the local public schools, being an immigrant student still presented many obstacles. I wanted to be the first in my family to graduate from high school and attend college. Yet as senior year arrived, I learned that I was not eligible to receive financial aid for college. I didn’t know my next step to achieve my goal.
Through my involvement in local programs such as Raw Art Works, I gained access to resources that would help me overcome the financial obstacles in my path—and I learned about Year Up. I thought that it sounded almost too good to be true. But it turned out to be a real opportunity to prove myself.
At Year Up, I went from not being able to afford college to taking career-relevant classes and receiving a stipend. I was one the first interns in the entire country to participate in Year Up’s sales training program and I earned an internship at CarGurus.com, the country’s #1 car shopping site.
Year Up took me from working various mall jobs to learning about business-to-business sales at one of the coolest companies in Boston. Now, I am a full-time Sales Development Representative at CarGurus and have goals of becoming a team lead and growing at the company in the next five years.
CarGurus has taught me about transparency, both in our products and in our culture, and the importance of being team-oriented while pushing myself to meet individual goals. The culture is supportive and collaborative, and I feel real ownership in my job. Since I am the youngest employee in the company, I’m determined to prove that I can perform at the highest level. My CarGurus mentors have pushed me to think deeper than I ever have before, and to start to consider what drives me as a person.
I now have the opportunity to become a role model to my peers and other immigrant students. As a Year Up alumnus and ambassador, I am committed to helping other young adults find their path to career growth by bridging the Opportunity Divide.
Read Yunior Crispin Valdez’s Grads of Life “How I Avoided Becoming a Statistic And Got Hired At The Coolest Company In Boston” blog post on Forbes.com.