“Driven” Toward the Future

“Not all of my friends are passionate about the future like me. If you have people to help you out and give support and encouragement, you focus more on the future.”

Alijah has always pursued his interests and dreams for the future. Because of his involvement with United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor program, this 8th grader already has a clear picture of his education goals.

Alijah first joined the mentoring program at Brookline Elementary in 6th grade, because he was interested and wanted to try something new. He was matched with James Doyle, a Pittsburgh Public Schools employee who could offer valuable insight into high school and beyond.

“It was great to meet a new person, and we connected like family,” Alijah says. “James is a resource for me for college and the future.” Alijah has plans to take college engineering, math, computer and science classes in order to gain the skills needed to reach his goals. “James says to always do your work, pay attention, go to school so that you can meet your goals and have a good future,” he says.

Ever since Alijah went to a car show at the Pittsburgh Convention Center, he has had an interest in becoming an engineer to design cars. He hopes to work for West Coast Customs in California after graduation and own his own business, if his plans of becoming an NBA basketball player don’t work out.  He’s practicing to make it onto the high school basketball team next year.

“I have a backup,” he says. “And I have to have choices.”