The following is from Mike Moreno, Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) Career Advisor:

In Winter of 2023, we first met Quinn when he came in to inquire about our SNAP Training and Employment Program (STEP). During his visit, he also met Youth Advisor Matt Fitzpatrick, who introduced him to work experiences – although Quinn passed on them at that time due to life circumstances. Nevertheless, he stayed in touch with Matt over the following months. In the Fall of 2024, Quinn contacted us again, and with OYEP fully funded and operational, we referred him to advisor Mike Moreno.

Quinn had a clear purpose: getting an internship in social work, driven by a deep interest in making a difference in his community. Recognizing his passion, we connected him with The Next Door Inc. (NDI) in The Dalles, OR. At NDI, Quinn was instructed to begin overseeing projects and working on program development. He worked tirelessly to help people experiencing homelessness and built an outdoor area for youth to spend time. He continuously received praise from his supervisor who actively reached out to Mike to let him know how impressed he was with Quinn’s work. At the same time, Quinn was still juggling his fast-food job and part-time studies.

Despite the long hours and hard work, Quinn kept sight of his goals. He remained focused on positively impacting his community and was determined to succeed. His efforts paid off when NDI offered him a full-time position upon completion of his internship. Quinn continues to work at NDI while taking CGCC classes to earn his transfer degree to apply for Social Work programs, and will graduate in 2024.