Participant Spotlight

Each month, YMI features an individual or organization within its partner network who embodies and champtions the YMI mission through their work.

Name: Daniel Gaskin
Organization: Job-Plus

Daniel Gaskin is a graduate of Gilford College, and a community organizer for Goodwill Industry’s workforce development team. He joined Goodwill Industry through his participation at YMI’s Jobs-Plus program, a public housingbased employment program designed to increase the level of earnings and employment among residents of public housing. As a community organizer, Daniel helped individuals who were struggling to find work gain employment through marketing the benefits of goodwill to them and teaching them resume writing, basic computer skills and other various methods to help them get back into the world of employment. His passion is helping people. He wants to get involved in non-profit organizations in the city and as well as international organizations. Daniel participated in YMI’s Annual Community Convening’s youth panel in February 27, 2015. We had an opportunity to speak to Daniel about his hopes and aspirations, and here’s what he has to say:

What makes you excited about learning?

“I became inspired to study political science because I saw a lack of civic engagement among my peers. It’s an urgent need in my community. I want to engage young men so that they make decisions for themselves. In order for them to change their narrative, they will have to allow themselves to rise above their circumstances.”

What would you say you learned or gained as a result of participating in Jobs-Plus ?

“As a Job-Plus participant, the most valuable thing I gained was my confidence. I was tired of failures and wanted to give up. I was afraid that I won’t be able to land a job. As an undergraduate, I wrote a 30 page thesis, but I was afraid that I would not be able to conduct menial tasks like copy or faxing documents. I am grateful to the mentors at Jobs-Plus. They gave me the guidance and mentorship, that I needed. They helped me realize that I can succeed and achieve my goals.”

Given your experiences, what would you change to make New York City a better place for all young people of color ?

“I think the city has a large role in the path that men of color are on. For example, recidivism for peo-ple who are in the justice system, I think we need to forgive more in our neighborhoods. I got exactly that, I talked to many people in the housing developments. The reason many people resort to failure, is because they have a record that follows them their whole life. Because of one mistake, their lives are forever marked. The city has a role to play in forgiveness and letting people have a second chance.”