Leonard, shown near his job site in Berkeley, is one of the hundreds of young people who benefits from Sunset Youth Services.
Director of Justice Services Ron Stueckle first met Leonard in jail, when Leonard was assigned to his caseload by the DA's office. As part of an alternative sentencing process and a condition of his release from jail, Leonard agreed to participate in Sunset Youth Services programs. Having been in and out of jail, Leonard had hit rock bottom when he turned to Ron and said, "I'm tired of always losing. I want to get my life set up so I can win."
That week Ron took Leonard to the Local Union No. 40, the Roofer's Union, and helped sign him up as a member. The union rep told Leonard, "You're never going to regret this decision. I've worked for 45 years and never spent a day out of work."
Within 2 days, Leonard was offered a job as an apprentice making $20/hr. Ron took Leonard shopping at Lowe's for a hard hat and gear, and Leonard started work the following week.
Many of our young people meet us for the first time when they're in jail or in crisis. Case managers like Ron offer support, provide a warm hand-off to employers or critical service providers, and stay connected until the young person is stable and often for years afterward.