My Path out of Poverty: Lashon Amado Delivers TEDX Talk

July 19, 2015

On June 24, YouthBuild USA employee, YouthBuild Brockton graduate, and National Council of Young Leaders Opportunity Youth United member Lashon Amado delivered a presentation titled “My Path out of Poverty” in Washington DC during the first ever TEDxPensylvaniaAvenue event. 

Amado talks about overcoming traumatic events from his early childhood that caused him to have a negative perception of police, and he describes how he came to realize that the negative environment perpetuated by persistent poverty in his community was leading him down a path of crime and economic despair.

Amado recounts that during his two-year period as a disengaged youth, he remembered one day seeing police outside of his home. This moment instantly reminded him of traumatic scenes from his childhood. He explains the seeing this scene made him realize that he was on the brink of remaining in a cycle that was hurting his family. He says, “At that point I said you’ve got to make a change. So I went on to look for a second chance.”

Amado describes finding this second chance through enrolling at YouthBuild Brockton saying, “When the education system failed me, when the job market failed me, when the justice system failed me, YouthBuild was there to welcome me with open arms.”

After completing the program, Amado says that his program encouraged him to pursue an associate degree from a local community college and later complete his bachelor’s degree from UMass Boston. He says that he plans on attending Northeastern University this summer to pursue a master’s degree in non-profit management.

Amado ends his presentation by outlining youth empowerment programs and criminal justice policy reform as being key to helping opportunity youth succeed.

TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue also hosted presentations from 23 other participants. The goal of the event was to give local, national, and global leaders the opportunity to share their ideas with the world.

Watch Lashon’s full presentation below: