Meet Haydee Medina

Haydee with Earl 1Born and raised in Spanish Harlem, Haydee has come a long way.

Haydee dropped out of high school in 2003 to provide financial support for her mother and two younger brothers and got a job delivering pizza in the Bronx. She attended business classes at a community college to continue her education but did not feel they were right for her and eventually, stopped going.

It wasn’t until a year later that Haydee found what she was looking for. After delivering pizza to the SoBRO Center and learning about the YouthBuild Transformation Academy, she enrolled in the program in 2004.

Haydee felt at home at SoBRO right from the beginning; the staff were down-to-earth and supportive and the programming, which included on-site construction skills training, immediately appealed to her.  She managed to accommodate her new schedule by delivering pizza at night.

After her first week on the construction site, Haydee’s mentor, Earl Dwyer, encouraged her to pursue a career in plumbing. One month before graduating from the program she was offered a job as a plumber’s apprentice. She was the first girl hired out of the program.

It took Haydee eight months to complete the program but even after graduation, she would come back to share her successes and challenges, receiving guidance from program staff. Mr. Dwyer, who continues to mentor Transformation Academy participants, describes Haydee as hardworking, dedicated, and focused.  These attributes have allowed her to advance her career in the last decade and Haydee is now a Project Manager.  She was able to move her mom and two brothers upstate and she is currently looking to buy a home in Upstate New York or in Florida so she can go to the beach every day!

We are inspired by Haydee’s success as we continue working with young adults through our Transformation Academy. To find out more about the program, contact


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