Albert was arrested for the first time at twelve years old. He stopped going to school at thirteen. By sixteen, he had started a vicious cycle of crime and incarceration that would land him in one upstate prison after another. “I was locked up so many times, it stopped bothering me. Sometimes I’d wonder if I was more comfortable being on the inside than out in society.”
Throughout his many years in prison, Albert held onto his dream of being a long-distance driver. But it was just that–a dream. He didn’t know how to actually achieve it.
Two months before he was released from his final incarceration, a friend told him about Ready, Willing & Able. “My friend said I could get my commercial driver license through the program. It sounded too good to be true, but it was the best chance I had.”
Albert joined The Doe Fund’s Bushwick facility and, like everyone in the program, started by ‘pushing the bucket.’ “I liked it! I’ve always been a hard worker; I love staying busy. In prison you get pennies for cleaning toilets you can’t even use. But now I was making money for me and for my future.”
After a few months, Albert started his commercial driver license classes. Not long after, he was hired by The Doe Fund as a dispatcher, and eventually as a Ready, Willing & Able recruiter. Finally, his plans were taking shape. “When I look back now, I see that I spent so much time just doing the same things. Going back to those same streets, committing the same crimes, just running in circles and going nowhere.”
Albert is done running in circles. Not only did he recently celebrate his graduation from Ready, Willing & Able, he was the class valedictorian. Standing behind a podium, he told his fellow graduates, “I’m still working on the man I want to be, but now I know exactly how to achieve my dreams. I’m ready to get in that truck and start driving!”