“What do you need?” That is the question Kelvin asks his students at Orleans Technical Institute. It is a broad question that encompasses all the different kinds of life skills or survival resources they need to succeed: grief counseling, child care, jobs or welfare, food assistance, clothing, housing, self-esteem, family problems. He is proud of a 100% graduation rate for welfare to work students who overcome severe obstacles just to stay in school. He is also the school photographer. “They are not on track if they are not attending”, Kelvin says. His goal is to let students know they are there for a purpose which may involve a lot of self-reflecting and Kelvin strives to gain their trust to support them through it. Raised in West Philadelphia himself, he knows staying with the Orleans program may be the only path to a good job and a good life for his students. Sometimes what they need means facing harsh realities, sometimes they just need a sincere hug. The Orleans program leads to jobs in the trades: HVAC, plumbing, carpenter, steamfitters, steelworkers, etc. In 23 years, Kelvin has seen former students ride through the neighborhoods in trucks with their names on it.
“This is what God called me to do. I am living my purpose. The joy of my job is to get someone to see something about themselves that they were missing.”
Kelvin is working to make a real difference in people’s lives.
For more information on Orleans Technical College, call: 215-544-3997 or visit: https://orleanstech.edu