“I AM UPO” is a campaign that highlights and celebrates the unique opportunities that we have created for hundreds of thousands Washington, DC residents for over our 50 years. The “UPO Story” is told through photos and quotes from different perspectives, audiences, and narratives, by those who have been positively impacted by UPO’s programs and human services, past and present.
Evan - Cyber Security
“I now see my future in Networking instead of Cyber Security because of the multiple opportunities for growth! My life has changed and I’m in a better place overall to help my family and career. I’m now looking forward to making an impact in my new role with World Bank, thanks to UPO!”
Meet Evan. He’s experienced it! Like many of our IT training students, Evan had never worked in the IT field but knew that’s where he wanted to be. He was enrolled in undergraduate studies at an out-of-state university but was forced to drop out in order to assist his mother with her medical needs. Once he returned home, he found employment in the fast food industry but it was not fulfilling his desire for a career. With a little help from social media and a lot of prayer, Evan’s mom was able to connect him to our YouthTech IT Training program. According to Evan, “my background was in Science and Technology and I was pursuing studies in Cyber Security so this was a perfect fit.”
Evan is a 2015 graduate of YouthTech IT Help Desk program and works full time as a Tier Two Service Desk Analyst with World Bank! In this role, he provides IT customer support to users all over the world! He is UPO!
“I would highly recommend UPO’s Hospitality program. I learned about every position in a hotel and it definitely helped in my interviews. This program really is six weeks to a career! I would love to stay in hospitality, it has great benefits, great pay, and room to grow.”
LaQuita was referred to our Hospitality training program through a friend who had recently completed the program. Over the years, she had taken dead-end jobs with no career advancement. She always enjoyed meeting and interacting with people. And, she was intrigued by the hospitality industry because her friend had recently secured employment with a large hotel chain and shared stories about her new career. LaQuita desired the same opportunity.
LaQuita is a 2015 graduate of our Hospitality training program and gainfully employed with one of DC’s most luxurious hotels, the Marriott Marquis at the Convention Center. She’s excited about her future and has her eye on a management position! She is UPO!
“It means that I get the chance to be hands on with my community and help those less fortunate. To try to save lives out here in the cold weather and cool them down in the summer. I actually get to help people and check on them in the future. I get to pass the opportunities that I was given on to other people. Also to have a job that I really care about, that I am really happy to get up every day to come here to do.”
Kelvin is a Shelter Hotline driver. The Shelter Hotline provides transportation services for DC’s homeless to help prevent hypothermia in the winter and hyperthermia in the summer. Drivers also distribute comfort items, such as socks and toiletries, to help the homeless.
He cares about providing aid to the city’s vulnerable population. He is UPO!
Myra is a proud UPO volunteer! She was born with a heart to serve. It’s in her blood. She watched her grandmother and aunt take care of family members and friends over the years. Prior to becoming part of our volunteer family, she was looking for the perfect opportunity in which she could help someone else. She and her son were familiar with UPO and visited our Petey Greene Community Service Center, home to our Advocacy and Volunteer Division, and immediately signed up! That was two years ago!
Now, Myra is the Volunteer Coordinator for our Grocery-Plus Program, a collaboration between UPO and The Capital Area Food Bank! In her role, she oversees the production and monthly distribution of approximately 100 boxes of prepared food items for seniors. When not managing this program, she routinely volunteers at our community events and welcomes everyone with a smile. She is UPO!
“UPO helped me to better formalize my resume. To be outspoken, confident within myself, being able to speak to any and everyone. It also helped me to finish my culinary arts studies that I wanted to learn as far as food handling and all of that. It also brought me a lot of new friends and family. I’m really enjoying the UPO staff, they really took me in under their wing. It means a lot. It turned my whole life around. I’ve got something to do with myself on an every day basis. It makes me feel more comfortable in myself.”
Sereeta is a 2015 graduate of our Culinary Arts training program. She now works full-time in the kitchen at United Medical Center. She is on the path to self-sufficiency. She is UPO!
“The first class treatment that UPO showed me was everything that I needed to know. The staff at UPO helps and receives you with open arms. You’ll swear that they’re your family…I don’t know how they do it, but they pay every single client that comes through their doors with attention. Every. Last. One. Of. Them.”
Lynell came to UPO as a “returning citizen” who was looking for a new opportunity and a second chance at a better life. He registered
with our job readiness programs and was immediately assigned a case manager.
“UPO’s P.O.W.E.R. program means a lot to me. It broadens your horizons to new experiences. UPO teaches you that college is for everyone, regardless of your financial need, where you come from, or your zip code. P.O.W.E.R. is a mentoring program so we learn different things from different people. They always have a lot of people come and talk to us about things that they’ve experienced in life and how they were able to overcome them…because they wanted to be more than where they came from.”
Like many of our program participants, Lanique has a rich history with UPO. At age 12, she joined the inaugural group of P.O.W.E.R. students and stayed until her high school graduation in 2015.
Lanique just completed her first year at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Upon her return home to DC for summer break, she will be working with our Youth Services Division assisting and mentoring the next generation of academic achievers. She is UPO!
P.O.W.E.R, which stands for Providing Opportunities with Educational Readiness, is an UPO educational, STEM-based enrichment program for DC students in grades 6 through 12. UPO’s belief is that education leads to a path of self-sufficiency. The P.O.W.E.R. program helps students attain the skills necessary to build a future for themselves and go into the world of higher education with confidence and equipped with skills to succeed.
“It means a lot because we help and give to the homeless. I’m truly dedicated to what we do. I know the cause we have is utterly necessary with the homeless young people in this city. They are just kids and need someone to look out for them.”
Vincent is a Shelter Hotline driver. The Shelter Hotline provides transportation services for DC’s homeless to help prevent hypothermia in the winter and hyperthermia in the summer. Drivers also distribute comfort items, such as socks and toiletries, to help the homeless.
He is dedicated to the needs of homeless young people. He is UPO!
This is Ramella, a 2015 Joseph A. Beavers scholarship recipient. Annually, we award 5 ambitious, deserving D.C. high school students, $10,000 each to be applied towards their collegiate aspirational pursuits. Named in honor of former UPO advocate and famed laborer, we’ve awarded over $1 million dollars to academic achievers from D.C.’s low income communities since the early 2000s. Ramella is now prepared for her future. She is committed. She is UPO.