Antoine is an OSI fellow and project coordinator at Men of Valuable Action, a project he started to help young men and fathers in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood where he grew up. Men of Valuable Action or MOVA works to help these men through counseling, support groups, and events. Right now, 20 men are participating in Antoine's program. 80-90% of the men are ex-offenders, fathers, and high school drop-outs; so far, 4 of the men have gotten jobs. Growing up in this neighborhood, Antoine wanted to help his neighbors and friends. "I can sympathize with the men I serve," Antoine said; he spent 3 and a half years in jail. "The fatherhood piece of our program is what motivates me the most though. I have a five year old and I want to be a good role model. I want to show my child good models in the community." Antoine and MOVA host father/child events throughout the year, including movie nights. As the only staff member of MOVA, Antoine works hard to show fathers how to be involved in their children's lives,"when we go to prison, so do our children," he said.
Judy spent 40 years working in the field of Urban Planning. "This is a field with a lot of opportunities," Judy told clients. In college, Judy studied Political Science. After taking an urban politics class, she became interested in the field and went on to pursue her masters in urban planning at Berkley. She missed the east coast however, and came back to work a few jobs before finishing her degree at Hunter College in New York. "Jobs in urban planning are oriented many ways," Judy explained. "You can go into the field from an architectural side or that of social work." After completing her degree, Judy worked in a county planning department in New Jersey until she had her first child. From there she went on to become an associate for a planning consulting firm and when she moved to Baltimore, she ended up at a small engineering firm that needed a planner. Judy explained that an urban planner is like a project manager for development projects. She describes planning as being like "working on a puzzle." Judy worked at the engineering firm until her retirement. With a degree and interest in planning, Judy listed a number of places individuals can work, including government, private developers, engineering firms, landscape architectural firms, community organizations, etc. She encouraged the career for anyone interested in how cities work.
After high school, Casey joined the Marine Corps. While enlisted he worked as a cook. After leaving the marines however, he was unsure of what he wanted to do. "I live my life unscripted," Casey said. For a while, Casey lived in Atlanta with his mother and then moved to New York to live with his Dad. His stepmother, with whom he was close, told him about the Culinary Institute of America. Even though he loved to cook, Casey had to learn how to become a chef, and it wasn't easy. "I went from serving 100s of hungry guys to making meticulous dishes," he said. Casey worked in great Manhattan restaurants and learned the numbers and values associated with running a restaurant. Working in restaurants for 20 years, he learned about paying bills, negotiating a lease, buying equipment, etc. Casey soon decided that he wanted to start his own business. "It takes a lot of work," he said of becoming an entrepreneur, "but you will eventually make money. You need to invest in yourself." Casey now owns a restaurant and catering business on Greenmount Avenue.
Thank you again to our guests for sharing about your career paths and tips to success!