“My mom grew up with 12 people, including siblings, cousins, etc. Growing up with 12 people in your household, you have to set strict rules, and that sort of trickled down to us when it came time to raise us. With the kids I work with now, I apply the same ideology, minus certain specifics of course. There’s 2 counselors to 20 kids, 10 on a good day. You can’t be mean to them because they’re not your children, but you also can’t let them get away with anything because if you slip up once, they will walk all over you.”
Brian Carr is a 21 year old living in Glen Oaks, New York who currently works at an afterschool program at Irwin Altman Middle School 172 in Floral Park, Queens. His mother is an immigrant from Honduras and his father is a local Glen Oaks resident, having lived there since childhood. He was born and raised in Long Island City, New York and grew up there before he moved to Glen Oaks, an apartment his aunt helped his family buy. He lives with his mom, dad, brother, and a dog named Ruben. “My mom doesn’t work and my dad was a train conductor until he had a bad accident, so money was very scarce.” (He declined to reveal what the accident was). His aunt, who works for a licensing agency, has consistently helped his family out with housing, food, money, etc. Through all the turmoil he’s faced, he still graduated with a Regents Diploma from Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical High School, located in Jamaica, NY. He was a straight A student in elementary and middle school, with high school being a bit of a challenge. He played baseball for the school’s team, and was very prone to injuries which he says affected his school grades. Nonetheless, he got through it, although with a few battle wounds.
(Mr. Carr getting ready for school)
Instead of the college route, he worked in various jobs as a regular mechanic, then went on to become a diesel mechanic in Bethpage, a suburban town on Long Island. He worked on trucks and various other vehicles, often driving them around to various places. “I was making great money, was able to feed my family, had a brand new Chevy Malibu, it was all a blessing.” However, a car accident in July 2016 took all of that away. “I was at a stop sign, and when I started driving another car hit me from the side. It sucks because this lady came out of nowhere but insurance said I was at fault. It was one of the worst days of my life.” As a result of the accident, he lost his job and subsequently had to go back to square 1. “I realized who my friends were at the time, because when I had the car and the money, people were available daily, but now suddenly they’re busy or can’t answer calls.” The transition was very rough for him, as he had to attend physical therapy to tend to nerve damage in his hand for 6+ months and was a shell of his former self.
Irwin Altman Middle School 172, Mr Carr’s current job location
As a result of these tragic events, he had to take his current job. “I went to the program when I was in middle school and worked there before I graduated from ADI(New York Auto and Diesel Institute, located in Queens, New York.) I’ve known my boss since I was a child, and he pretty much did me a huge favor, because I was still in the midst of therapy when he hired me back.” At this after school program, he is tasked with supervising a group of middle school kids ranging from the ages of 11 to 13. He makes a daily homework planner with his other co-counselor and after the kids are done with homework, he takes them either to the gym, the game room, or outside if the temperature permits it. The job isn’t to strenuous for him as he was a participant in this program as a child. “It’s like clockwork to me, I can relate to the kids as I was in their position at one point. I’m very stern, but level headed at the same time.” While the money obviously isn’t where it’s as opposed to when he was a diesel mechanic, he is hoping to gear up for a much bigger plan.
Mr. Carr on a field trip with his job
He plans on enlisting in the Marines this April, following in the footsteps of his grandfather who passed away when he was 10. The job he currently holds, even though he loves it, is just to keep him afloat until he gets deployed. While he has been through a lot physically and mentally, he keeps his head up. “I feel that everything happens for a reason, it’s sort of like the falling down 7 times and getting up 8. It’s hard losing pretty much everything you worked for, especially at such a young age. I was 21 on my way to a six figure salary, had a girlfriend, a nice car, etc. Then like magic, it went away.” The job he holds now is essentially a stepping stone to getting his life back on track and solidify his future. “I love this job, I love the kids, and I love my coworkers, but I love trucks more. I want to feed my current family and create one, so I need to make ends meet because $13.50 a hour isn’t going to cut it.” But for now, he’s content in the position he’s in. When you’re in a tough place, you need to be around people that care for your well being and want to see you doing well. He’s known a lot of his coworkers for years and he considers them family, and knows that when he eventually moves on to be a Marine, that they’ll still be by his side. Sure, he could still have his 100k salary and his girlfriend, but to him, his accident was a wake up call to see who was really interested in his well being as opposed to people who just liked him for his money and his career. In the words of rapper Drake, it was all part of God’s plan.
“I want to become a marine just like my grandfather. I think as a fellow American, it is my duty to honor and serve the country I’m from.” Brian Carr is a mechanic living at home with his parents and one brother in Glen Oaks, New York. He is currently still reeling from a 2016 accident where he lost his car, and ultimately, his job. “It was a tough time in my life, having to go from a salary that could consistently feed my family to having to take a part time job, back to square 1 type of thing.” He has since considered the military as a stepping stone to a better job and a better life. “I want to serve my country and allow myself to put my family and I in a good financial situation.” His dream job in the Marines is special operations, and being a former baseball player, he wants to excel. “I want to be the top rank in any Marine position I get, preferably special op(erations), I always want to be the best in anything that I do.” For now, however, he is currently getting back into the shape he was in before the accident. “It really held me back financially, I could only imagine where I’d be currently. I had a 80k salary, a car, a fed family, and it was all taken away from me. I pray everyday that with this marine thing, I can make up for lost time.”
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