Born in Brooklyn NY but raised in The Bronx NY, I’ve been presented with plenty of opportunities to not attend school to further my education but instead work in a family owned business. I’ve attended two other colleges prior to The New York City College of Technology where I am currently enrolled studying in the Human Service bachelor degree program. It took me quite a while to determine what profession I could actually see myself committing to because in my earlier years I was very indecisive.  I am currently at a point in my life where working with people is definitely what I will be doing professionally for many years to come.

Before choosing to work in the Human Service field, I’ve considered being a Dental Hygienist and a Computer Engineer.  Neither profession really intrigued me but they were recommended by other people as good careers to get into. I’ve taken courses in both majors fortunately the courses in those two majors were transferrable for the degree I am in pursuit of now. I decided to become a Human Service professional for several reasons.  For one, I believe I am capable of working with people from all walks of life, especially those less fortunate and poverty stricken.  I feel I am capable because I grew up in a single parent household with five siblings and managed to persevere and get an education through ambition and hard work.  Depending on which population I ultimately choose to work with, this experience will be beneficial.  Another reason I’ve chosen to become a Human Service professional is because of the recent mental health issues of my younger brother.  My brother, whom I am very close with, was recently diagnosed with Schizophrenia.  This diagnosis made me eager to learn more about people with mental illnesses, how they develop, and ways one can help them.

Working in the Human Service field isn’t for everyone by any means.  I’m confident I possess certain strengths both personal and professional that will enhance my effectiveness for professional practice.  Personally, I am an assertive individual.  I let my presence be known and will not allow anyone to manipulate or take advantage of me.  In this profession, depending on which population you work with, people will absolutely test your character to see if you are a “push over”.  Being a “push over” will not generate respect from the people you’re working with or for.  Professionally, the education I am receiving will enhance my effectiveness as well.  I’ve learned various counseling techniques from my current employment and school that can be put to use where necessary.

One great thing about being in the Human Service field is the fact that it is a broad profession.  A person with a Human Service degree can work with different populations.  The one population I am most interested in working with are those who have been placed on probation or parole.  Working with this population I will learn that some people make mistakes but can be rehabilitated back into society.  I often see that once a person has been incarcerated for an offense, they automatically feel there is no hope and continue on the wrong path. Also, persons released from prison are vulnerable to developing mental health issues deprived from isolation from human contact, according to numerous studies.  My plan is to assist them in not giving up hope in becoming a law abiding citizen.

The number of individuals released from prisons is on a steady incline and most former prisoners ultimately will return to communities bringing with them a variety of health and social needs that must be addressed.  The majority of inmates leave prison without savings, without immediate entitlement to unemployment benefits, and with poor prospects for employment.  Developing the skills of networking, I will have the opportunity to contact other Human Service professionals with more expertise in a specific area that might be beneficial to the population I am working with.  Such as, programs available to persons recently released from prison.  Also, excellent communication skills are needed to professionally serve this population.  I must be able to communicate effectively and positively with a diverse group of people with varying personalities on a day-to-day basis.

From the day of graduation to the ten years that follow, I envision my career path to be steady with full time employment with the Department of Probation of New York City.  I envision my career resume to be full of success stories of individuals once a prisoner of the state returning to be productive members of society.  On the job experience such as, interaction with clients and in the field duty will be a good way to hone my skills because no two people are exactly alike.  Working alongside veteran parole officers can also nurture my skills in the early years to prepare me for a lengthy career in the Human Service field.

I expect the career choice I’ve made for myself to be a healthy decision that will allow me to work with people who are stigmatized because of a mistake they made in their lives.  Not everyone can be rehabilitated, but I believe many prisoners feel there is no hope for them once they become a convicted felon.   This is when they decide to give up and continue on the wrong path.  My goal is to help as many people as I can to see that this isn’t and doesn’t have to be true.  Becoming a Human Service professional is just the beginning on what I set out to do.