Nelson Cornwell – July ’18

Nelson had recently been released from prison and was living in a half-way house when  learned about NECAT. At that time, he was worried about the direction he was headed, now homeless, jobless and with a criminal record.

Life had always been an uphill battle for Nelson. At the age of five, he was abandoned by his mother at a babysitter’s house in Maryland until his homeless father hitchhiking from Florida, with less than a dollar in his pocket, came to rescue him. The two of them spent long stretches on the road, moving from shelter to shelter, before finally settling in Revere, MA. Tragically, Nelson’s father died of a stroke when Nelson was a teenager, leaving him to fend for himself without any family. He initially moved into his own apartment downstairs from a high school classmate’s family, but ended up moving from apartment to apartment around the area, making ends meet any way possible. Unfortunately, that often led to bad decisions and, eventually, it landed him in prison. In prison, Nelson decided that he didn’t want to end up like his father, who was homeless for his whole life. Upon his release, Nelson found residence in a halfway house where he was told about NECAT.

During his training at NECAT, Nelson learned new skills to help him focus and get prepared for building a career. He was the first student in his class to secure employment, landing a job at the

Olive Garden where he says he struggled at first, but persevered. Eight months into his role there, his manager has taken note of Nelson’s leadership skills and he is being groomed to become a Certified Trainer.

Nelson was incredibly proud to come back to NECAT to share his recent accomplishments and how he feels like his life is now on firmer ground.  He’s even pursuing one of his long-term interests by completing a DJ course at a music production school in Cambridge – something he could only afford because of the great job he secured through NECAT.  Nelson is now on his way to becoming a DJ on his days off from the Olive Garden. “I have learned that passion is the main ingredient to my success,” he tells us – and says he found that at NECAT.