Kalif, 25, is an older brother, and he takes that job seriously. “Being a big brother, I’m not his father, but I’m probably the first person he will go to. I took that as a responsibility; my little brother pushes me to be a better person.” During his senior year of high school, Kalif and his family had to move away from a bad situation, forcing him to drop out of school. After settling in his new home, Kalif enrolled in a GED program and passed the GED test within a year, earning his high school-equivalency diploma while still at age 18.
Kalif has always seen himself as a caretaker not only for his brother but his retired parents as well. With his GED in hand, he pursued work opportunities to better financially support his family. In 2021, after struggling to find work, he connected with BronxWorks Jobs Plus. “I saw the free security guard license course, came in, took that course, got my certification, and I haven’t looked back,” he says. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the issuance of his license, but Kalif pushed forward and excitedly accepted a position with a local security firm. “The financial barrier to getting the license is something I would not have been able to cross if it weren’t for the service the BronxWorks Jobs Plus program provided to me,” he says. He now works as a security guard in various entertainment venues across the City.
Working security was never something Kalif had thought he would be doing. Now that he’s chosen this path, Kalif feels the sky is the limit. “I really like doing this work. I like talking to people,” he says. “I want to maybe work my way up to being a fire safety director or a personal bodyguard.” BronxWorks Workforce Development is still working with Kalif nearly two years later, connecting him with a mentor for advice and guidance on how he can achieve his career goals.
“I always feel safe at BronxWorks,” he says. “No matter what I need, the staff is here to support me. I feel like there is a real family atmosphere here.” Kalif’s hard work, persistence, and ability to focus on building a financially stable future has allowed him to overcome years of adversity. “My brother is proud of me,” he says with a big smile. “He’s finishing high school now and is looking forward to his next steps.”
The BronxWorks Emergency Fund will help provide Bronx individuals like Kalif important connections and skills to provide for their families and build a better future.