YouthBuild Fall River Staff Paul Santos
Paul Santos, 21, is the first person to tell you that he had a bad childhood. A childhood so bad, he says, that it took him a while to get over it.

But he did - with the help of YouthBuild Fall River. A graduate of the program, Santos is now working for it thanks to the stimulus-funded $100,000 green capacity grant the organization received through the Department of Labor. He is also a student at Bridgewater Community College and plans to eventually attend medical school and become a psychiatrist so he can "give back to the low income community."

This is a surprising turn of events for someone who, by the time he was 18, had given up on school completely -- and watched his school pretty much give up on him. Someone at his high school in Fall River at the time suggested he look into YouthBuild Fall River. Santos joined the program and finished but he did not get his GED. He tried again for a second year but he struggled to get through. Eventually Santos completed his GED and was invited to work as a graduate assistant at YouthBuild Fall River.

YouthBuild Fall River Staff Paul Santos and Rep. Rodrigues

"YouthBuild and [Terry] Moran, and a few others were watching me, seeing how I worked and how I progressed. And they were so impressed with what they saw that they actually invited me to come back as a graduate assistant last year, and, once again, I guess I impressed them with my on time and how I held myself to a certain higher standard," says Santos.

This past year, Santos got hired as a staff member, thanks to the stimulus grant. Terry Moran, the director of YouthBuild Fall River, was happy to see his YouthBuild graduate be a role model to YouthBuild participants.

YouthBuild Fall River Crew
"When Paul first came to us, he had trouble committing to everything," says Moran. "Now, not only is he committed to the program but he is going to college and he has developed an incredible sense of leadership. It is taking him to new heights."

For Santos, he will not rest until he has achieved his dream of being able to help provide psychiatric services for those who need it but can't afford it. "I just want to be able to help my community and help myself," he says.