Levi started his journey in Colorado Springs, CO, where he worked to break away from the negative influences of his youth, including an unlawful family business. He worked two jobs to support his mother and siblings. Eventually, Levi realized the burden or being responsible for everyone in his family was an unending circle, with no hope for progress. He made he difficult choice to obtain a better life at Job Corps.
“I knew that I had to make the best possible choice for me so that I could have the best future,” Levi said. “There was either Job Corps or ‘3 hots and a cot.’
Levi enrolled at Trapper Creek Job Corps Center in Montana to study Forestry & Wildland Firefighting. After he completed the program, he planned to enter the workforce immediately. A chance encounter at a Job Corps career fair, where he was speaking, led to him learning about the HSW program.
“I was there to speak about my experiences when I read a pamphlet for HSW,” he said. Something inside clicked, and he realized that this is what he wanted to do with life. “HSW is close to may heart. Some people are born with certain gifts and helping others has always been a gift of mine. When I’m able to use it to help others, that’s the sunniest of days.”
Levi quickly completed the HSW program, and entered into an internship at Cascades Job Corps Career & College Academy in Washington. He spent six weeks at the Academy, putting his Job Corps skills into action.
“I’ve always been able to help at Job Corps as a peer, but at Cascades, I was able to help with authority. It fosters a different relationship, and I feel as if I have more opportunity to help them as an Advisor. They take my advice with faith, and it makes me want to be a better person.”
Cascades offered Levi a position as a Residential Advisor once he completed his internship.
Always humble, Levi rarely boasts about his success. His HSW classmates didn’t even know that Levi received the national “2019 Corpsmember of the Year Award.” Levi traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive his reward, where he was commended by U.S. Senator Jon Tester. He was one of the six students to receive this award, besting a competition of several thousand Job Corps and AmeriCorps students throughout the country.
“I got to travel to DC, meet several senators, but that’s not the big deal. The important stuff is being able to help other people. The greatest advice I can give new Job Corps students is to help others to help themselves.”
Grafton wishes Levi the best of luck on his new adventures at Cascades.