UTEC 20th Anniversary Gala Young Adult Honorees
This award is named after the late Tha Thach, a young adult who embodied
the madd love and contagious passion UTEC strives to ignite in every young person.
“I grew up running the streets, and ended up incarcerated in Billerica for over 2 years. While I was in jail, the UTEC Streetworkers visited me, and once I got out and was staying in a halfway house, they brought me to UTEC. I felt comfortable here. It became my home away from home. I started showing up every day, so I could move up to the woodshop. I could tell they really cared. After 8 months in the woodshop, I got connected to an internship at a lumber yard. It was great and gave me good exposure to the outside world, and I could get there because UTEC helped me pay for my car insurance. Now I’m not just a painter, I’m a proud union member.”
“Before UTEC, I tried other programs and was going through some hiccups, like everyone else does, especially coming from the streets with only one parent. I spent time in jail. When I got out, I wanted to build a better life for me and my family—so I came to UTEC. I’ve had the opportunity to talk about criminal justice reform, reentry, and 2Gen to hundreds of people, and it motivates me to become a better parent, and my daughter, Jnalee, has learned a lot and improved her attitude and social skills. She is a bright little girl!”