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Gerardo Quinones

Description: Intro music with video showing Gerardo playing basketball with his son at the park and then chasing is son on the jungle gym equipment.

Narrator:  Today, Gerardo Quinones is a wonderful Dad and a good provider for his family, but as a young man, he dropped out of school and found himself taking the wrong path.

Description: Gerardo is a young Latino man wearing a plaid shift. His wife Stephanie is also young with dark hair and dark eyes. Medical classroom in addition to the computer lab are shown.

Gerardo: I probably would have been one of those statistics of gang violence or maybe in prison because that's just where truly my life was going. I didn't have no way out, I didn't see no way out. I thought there was no other way.

Stephanie Quinones, wife: It's hard being out here by myself most of the time with the kids. It's very challenging. I thank God I had a supportive family, and a good support system to help me through those hard times.

Gerardo: My last time of being incarcerated, I remember just seeing older men there and saying this must have been, I must be them about 20, 30 years ago. And that's gonna be me in about 30 years from now, so I think that was my turning point to say, "Hey, you know what, I think it's enough." So going to that school, it was just exciting because, to see all the classrooms, to see all the hallways, to see all that, and seeing all the adults that are involved at Hacienda La Puente Adult School, that was really my thing that said, "Man, this is cool. I like this".

Description: Gerardo walks across school grounds wearing his scrubs. Miss Vena is an older woman with salt and pepper hair. Ms. O'Connell is a young blond woman. More video of Gerardo playing basketball with his son is shown.

Maureen Vena, Medical Assistant Instructor: I think the first impression I had of Gerry is he had a sense of humor. And, I really relate to that. And the other thing is I haven't had a lot of men finish the program. I've had a lot start, and the ones that have finished have really done very well. He's had enough experience, I think, in life, that he knew how to ask questions. Some of my students are very, very hesitant. They're afraid and Gerry was not that way. He knew this was something he wanted and it was almost like - stand out of my way. I'm gonna get it done.

Pat O'Connell, Site Administrator: I said why did you feel you needed to reach out and talk to your teacher? He said, "Because I didn't believe that I could ever get this far in life and Miss Vena always wove into her classroom things like, 'You know, Gerry, integrity counts; the things that you do when people aren't looking, that counts.' And I would take that home, and I would share it with my kids. And, she would say, 'Don't settle for this, don't settle for that.' And I would take that home and would tell my kids. Don't settle for these low-paying jobs, just because everyone in your neighborhood has those." And he was very inspired by Miss Vena so he felt that he needed to, the least he needed to do, was share with her, his success.

Description: Elaine Selmo smiles warmly as she describes Gerardo's accomplishments.

Elaine Selmo, Health Careers Instructor: I think through Gerry's vision and his perseverance and his hard work allowed him to accomplish his dreams. He held his dreams close to him and he didn't let them falter and he just stayed strong and steady on his course and he was able to accomplish that and we're proud of him for all the work that he's done.

Description: Gerardo playing on the playground with his children, running and laughing.

Stephanie Quinones: I feel accomplishment, liked we've accomplished something, you know, as a family because like I said, from where we came from to where we're at now I can definitely see growth, we've grown and matured. I just want to thank him, you know. I thank him for all that he does and for all that he's going to continue to do for our family.

Description: You can tell Stephanie is proud of her husband as she speaks about him and his accomplishments. There is a look of pride on her face.

Gerardo: Now I see people that are gang members, people that are drug addicts, and I'm able to talk with them and tell them, "Hey, man, there's hope, you know. You want to live that life all your life? Go ahead, but there's a way out because you know what, I lived that life. I know there's a way out."

Description: Gerardo plays with his children on the swings at the park.