San Bernardino, Calif. – Keanu Guerrero couldn’t have imagined a better outcome.
Growing up in poverty in the High Desert of San Bernardino County, Guerrero knew that the opportunities awaiting others wouldn’t necessarily be there for him. Anything he achieved in life would require a plan, determination and extraordinary hard work. What he didn’t count on was fortuitous timing.
“I knew that if I was to have any kind of career, I would need to learn a trade. What I didn’t know was how many people would be there to help,” said Guerrero, whose career journey included training the Inland Empire Job Corps Center and, now, a job as a Residents Service Technician for National Community Renaissance.
The irony is that people helping people is what Guerrero himself is all about. His mother drove a big rig – a physically demanding job that eventually left her disabled and forced young Guerrero to take a variety of jobs as a handyman and landscaper to make ends meet.
“I knew I needed a career-based job to help pay the bills,” he said.
Now 23, with his GED and certification from the Job Corps, he has become an invaluable member of the National CORE team, while continuing to take care of his mother and other family members.
“Keanu embodies all that we represent,” said Robert Noeth, Residents Service Manager at National CORE. “He understands the challenges many of our residents face in their everyday lives, and he goes out of his way to help.”
His Job Corps training in electrical maintenance has also proved extremely valuable, such as the time he handled a task involving LED lighting that normally would have required outside help – at additional expense. As a thank you for all that he brings to the organization, Guerrero’s supervisors recently presented him with power tools of his own.
“That was a shock,” an appreciative Guerrero said. “They called me into the office and I didn’t know what to expect. I still don’t believe it.”
Dorrie Bryan, Vice President of Human Resources for National CORE, said the company knew Guerrero would be a good fit from the start.
“From the moment we met Keanu, he portrayed this spark and enthusiasm for what he was doing. His supervisor had actually stepped out when we toured the electrical department, and put Keanu in charge. Because of that, we were able to talk directly with him and were very impressed with his knowledge and charisma,” Bryan said. “We couldn’t wait to hire him.”
About National CORE
Rancho Cucamonga-based National Community Renaissance is one of the largest nonprofit developers of affordable housing, with nearly 9,000 units across four states. Over its 22-year history, CORE has received national recognition for its innovation and meshing of quality, affordable housing with transformational social services through its Hope through Housing subsidiary. For more on CORE, please visit www.nationalcore.org.
Steve Lambert, The 20/20 Network
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