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!”


See more highlights from the night’s event