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Youth Partner Takes Center Stage With President Obama

Congratulations to our PAAN Youth Partner Juan Matos who recently received the distinguished honor of meeting the President of the United States.

Juan, 23, met with President Barack Obama shortly before he gave remarks during the 106th NAACP Convention held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center last week.

Juan told Obama about his personal experience with laws that affect offenders and about the obstacles they face when they are released from prison. Obama praised Matos on his ongoing transformation and commitment to turning his life around.

WATCH VIDEO: President Obama Praises PAAN Youth Partner

“One of them, a young Latino man, came out of prison and was given an opportunity and trained on green jobs that are helping the environment but that also gave him a marketable skill. He talked about how he’s staying out of trouble; he’s just thinking about his two daughters. I can relate to that because you don’t want to disappoint your daughters, you don’t want to disappoint your baby girls. So he says, I go to work and I go home, grab my baby, give her a kiss, and that’s keeping me focused,” said President Obama.

The impromptu moment came as a huge surprise to Juan.

“I wasn’t expecting the President to talk about me in his speech,” said Juan. “I was honored.”

Since December 2014 Juan, who is a part of our Youth Violence Reduction Partnership, has worked with PowerCorps PHL and made tremendous progress. He initially started off as a part of a team and now he is an Assistant Crew Leader with the Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Maintenance Program, say managers.

 “He is a very positive young man that is determined to change his life around. He is very motivated and is working hard to move on from his past”, said Juan’s Street Worker Luz Hernandez.

 Juan will complete his assignment at PowerCorps PHL in August. He already has several jobs lined once he completes the program. He will also be attending college once he decides on a major, according to Hernandez.

Read MORE: PowerCorpsPHL Gets a POTUS Shout-out


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