Seeking the Spotlight
Tareike, a gentle, quiet 19-year-old, came by himself to NYC from the Caribbean island of St. Eustatius with dreams of becoming an actor. He found his way to Manhattan Comprehensive. He soon faced a crisis when his aunt, his only NYC connection, no longer had room for him. Comprehensive Youth Development staff quickly moved to get him into a group shelter and the Legal Information Clinic helped him to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) so he could obtain a green card.
Tareike struggled in school and had difficulty with basic math. He worked intensively several times a week with a CYD tutor and slowly moved forward. Tareike often surprised staff and teachers with his tenacity and the progress he was able to make despite the fact he was living in a shelter, responsible for all his own living expenses, and not a natural student.
CYD connected him to paid internships at the NYC Parks Department and at Rockefeller University. Just before his 21st birthday he was granted his SIJS status and graduated from high school, at which point CYD was able to connect him with transitional housing that he paid for by working at Starbucks. Tareike then enrolled at LaGuardia Community College.
He has recently returned to Rockefeller University where he works fulltime during the day in the Laboratory Animal Research Center and attends college at night. He hasn’t given up his dream of acting, but for now is happy to be studying science and working toward a national certification to work in laboratory research.