Success means different things to different people. For some, it’s graduating from high school or landing a dream job. For others, it’s having the opportunity to build a stable family. Whatever our scholars define as success, Pivotal strives to get them there. And every time we check in with past scholars and see how far they’ve come, we know we’ve done our job. In our “Where Are They Now?” series, we’re catching up with four Pivotal Alumni to share their personal journeys to success.
When Cicero first applied for a scholarship through the Pivotal Scholarship Program, he had no idea that one simple action would change the trajectory of his life. After receiving a scholarship, Pivotal coaches mentored him as he started at Foothill College and eventually transferred to University of San Francisco, giving him the advice and support he needed. Pivotal also gave him the chance to meet other foster youth and build community with others who had been through similar experiences growing up.
A decade later, Cicero is a University of San Francisco graduate, working at a software company in Portland where he sells training software to clients around the world. As he prepares his daughter to start high school, he’s made it his mission to surround her with the stability and security he didn’t have growing up.
We recently caught up with Cicero to talk to him about his Pivotal experience and how he’s been doing since he graduated.
How did you find out about and initially get involved with Pivotal?
While my daughter and I were both going to school and I was also working, I was involved with a few different programs to support our living costs. Unity Care Group connected me with Pivotal to apply for their scholarship. I signed up but had no idea the extent that this relationship would go. It was an entire journey of meeting different people and getting support, from writing a resume to having conversations with their staff about “adulting.” The people at Pivotal were by far the most valuable resource.
When you think about your journey, is there a speed bump that you overcame along the way?
I think this is common for a lot of foster youth, but I’ve always struggled with imposter syndrome. I felt this throughout my entire childhood, and even at times today. Questions like, “do I belong here?” or “am I good enough for the company?” run through my mind. I constantly feel like I need to prove my worth and that I belong.
What are you planning on doing next?
Right now, my focus is on my daughter – my biggest priority is making sure she feels stable and safe so she can focus on school. I want to give my daughter the security I never had in high school. She’s interested in coding and developing games, so we’ll see where that takes her, but I want her to focus on school right now
What's the one accomplishment that you're most proud of?
I have to say my daughter, of course. She’s the best thing to happen to me – being a parent is amazing. But I’m also really proud of the relationship I built with my daughter’s mother and stepdad. It took years of hard work for us to work out the best way to co-parent, but I love that we’re able to provide my daughter with stability and be a family together.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would give no advice. If I changed any little bit of my journey, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I am the person I am because of all the choices I made along the way – both good and bad. I think the biggest advantage I have is my outlook on life. I have worked hard to get past the obstacles in my path and build a life I’m really proud of.