Delvin Turner, 24, grew up just a short distance from Life’sWork in the Hill District. “I was always aware of the great work Life’sWork did, having had several family members go through the program,” he said.
Prompted by those same family members, when he was 13 Delvin entered the Life’sWork Project Choice program as a shy and introverted pre-teen. He was later referred to the Ben and Jerry’s Training program which has proven to help youth become more focused, have higher self-esteem, and develop socially.
Through the Ben and Jerry’s program Delvin not only thrived but he exceeded expectations by becoming a trainer to his peers, taking on leadership responsibilities, and embracing his status as a role model for other participants, eventually moving up to an assistant manager.The confidence Delvin developed transferred to his educational pursuits where he funded his tuition at Central Catholic High School through an academic scholarship and while a senior at La Salle University was selected as one of 20 students to attend the Trials Program at Harvard University’s Law School.
Upon graduation Delvin returned to Life’sWork not as a program participant but as a youth counselor. “Life’sWork set me in the right direction to achieve success and now I want to help others accomplish their goals,” he says.
He studies civil rights law at UCLA and said at a young age, while learning about Thurgood Marshall, he realized that through the practice of law he could fight against the racial inequalities he witnessed around him. Generational poverty, education levels, employment, crime and incarceration are just a few of the issues he hopes to address in his future endeavors as a civil rights lawyer.
Everyone at Life’sWork is confident in his determination and work ethic to accomplish all the goals he sets for himself. And while Delvin is quick to thank his counselors, Angela Huffman and Randy Kienzle as well as Life’sWork’s President and CEO, Everett McElveen for supporting and being a mentor to him, we know that there are many youth that have benefitted from Delvin’s service at Life’sWork.
As someone he looked up to, Thurgood Marshall said, “None of us got where we are by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody- a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony, or a few nuns- bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”