Darren Brown Alumni Highlight

March 2016

Tell me a little about yourself.

My name is Darren Brown, I’m an alumni of Cohorts 3 & 4.  I’m currently an apprentice with Philadelphia Water. I’m 25 years old.  I’m from West Philadelphia, and I still live in West (Wynnefield).  I’m a hard working individual who loves to beautify my community.  I hope to be a role model to upcoming generations.

When were you in PowerCorpsPHL?

I was in Cohort 3 on Mike Herrmann’s Philadelphia Parks & Rec crew.  In Cohort 4 I was Assistant Crew Leader (ACL) for AJ Adams.  I went for ACL because I recognized my growth and development in Cohort 3.  Applying for ACL only encouraged me to become more of a leader, not only within my crew, but also my community.

What are you up to now?

I’m an Apprentice at Philadelphia Water doing Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Maintenance.  PowerCorpsPHL presented this position as an opportunity to me because of my hard work, even though I had never done GSI maintenance.  In my position we maintain a lot of stormwater that enters the sewer system.  Green Stormwater Infrastructure captures stormwater runoff before it enters the Combined Sewer System to purify it and provide safer drinking water.  My day to day tasks include preparing sites for contractors to work and doing maintenance on site failures.  I work with a brilliant and hardworking PowerCorpsPHL alumni Aaron Kirkland and sometimes with alumni Dimitri Forte (but he is under a different managing group).  I like it because the work has a unique twist to it. We utilize natural land and natural components of life to to remove the bacteria and provide clean water.  My knowledge was very limited about GSI; interviewing for the position sparked my interest and I was trained at work.  We recently had a training on how to do surveying: how to measure the depth, width etc. of land.

I’m also enrolled at Community College of Philadelphia.  I’m currently taking English and Math, I’m doing my pre-requisites.  I’d like to educate myself on business because I plan on opening my own business later on in life.  I need the education to prepare me for success.

What about in your free time?

I like to read, do my homework.  I like to spend time with my family, I have many young nieces and nephews.  I want to help them develop in life and watch them grow up.  At CCP, I’m involved in the Center for Male Engagement.  They provide tutoring, help with financial aid, mentorships, and more.  I’ve utilized their resources and mentors, especially with developing and understanding my career path.  My long term goal is to get into real estate.

What motivates you?

My family; they’ve seen me struggle throughout my life and see me work hard to get things I deserve. I want to be successful; success is being able to wake up and know that everything you have, you earned.  It’s making sure that you beautified the community, that you played a part in your community.  You gave so much that now you can receive.  Life doesn’t owe anyone anything, but we owe it to life to give back.  Sometimes when you let go, you may lose one thing but gain two.

How did your time with PowerCorpsPHL impact you?

My experience with PowerCorpsPHL provided me with transferable skills so I can go into the workforce and break any boundaries I face. PowerCorpsPHL became a liaison for me to employers.  PowerCorpsPHL helped me realize what I’m doing is something right for a change.  I knew the stuff I was doing before was bad, but I didn’t really know how.  Beautifying my community I was able to see the work I do isn’t a waste, that it has an impact.  PowerCorpsPHL made me view myself as not just a person who wanted to be productive in life, it made me want more for myself.

Now that you’re an alumni, what sort of involvement would you like to have with PowerCorpsPHL?

I want to share my story.  I always let people know that no matter what they face in life there’s a way to break those barriers.  And being in PowerCorpsPHL is the first step.  PowerCorpsPHL supports me through their outreach with opportunities to gain more experiences and further my growth.  I can’t ask for much more, they’ve done so much.

What do you miss about PowerCorpsPHL? What don’t you miss?

I miss the supportive services and the crews.  I miss that group morale, that love you get from being around people you’re working with.

I don’t miss getting stung by bees.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I want to have my own real estate business.  I want to further my education.  And finally, I will keep striving to be the best that I can be.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Shout-out to Aaron Kirkland for being the amazing partner that he is: always supporting me, always following through, on top of anything I say and then asks me about it later.

Shout-out to Alex Warwood and Gerald Bright for being great supervisors and mentors; I appreciate all they do for me and the apprentices.  They’re always making sure we are having the best experience.

Shout-out to PowerCorpsPHL for everything they provided me throughout my experience. The tools they gave me are being used.  They helped me grow into a well developed young man.

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