Jaleel Williford Alumni Highlight

March 2016

Tell me a little about yourself.

My name is Jaleel Williford, my friends call me Rock.  I’m 24 years old.  West Philadelphia born and raised!  I went to seven different high schools, I had a rough time during my teenage years.  When I was 20 years old I earned my diploma from Overbrook High School.  After that, I did little jobs and I went to Pierce College for a year for Information Technology.  But I dropped out.  Then I joined PowerCorpsPHL.  I had my daughter after my first cohort.  I’m a very energetic person.  I’m goofball and people friendly. You gotta do a lot to get on my bad side. I’m always smiling.

When were you in PowerCorpsPHL?

I was in Cohort 2 on Mr. Pat Edouard’s crew.  I re-upped for Cohort 3 on Mr. Mike Herrmann’s crew.  I took my second cohort more seriously, I put my all into it.

What are you up to now?

Right now, I’m Acting Crew Leader at PowerCorps Camden.  I started as Assistant Crew Leader, but my crew leader left within the first month.  I had already established a team dynamic and I didn’t want to split my crew up into the other crews.  So, I took on the extra responsibility.  It’s definitely a learning process.  But, I got a nice bond with my crew.  They respect my leadership.  I’m learning how to deal with different people’s attitudes.  I have eight members on my crew.  I normally get to work around 7:30am, I begin contacting members to see where they are.  I go over the site spec, then the members get to work.  I work with them too.  We get the work done.

Right after I finished Cohort 3 I worked on the Outreach Team for the Bicycle Coalition.  This was when they were launching Indego BikeShare.  It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.  I attended concerts, events, and organized rides to do outreach for Indego.  That position was seasonal, so when I was offered the opportunity at PowerCorps Camden it was perfect.  I still do community outreach for Indego, it’s under Bicycle Transit Systems now.  I’m a Street Team Member, it’s starting up again now.  I can make my own schedule, so I only work on the weekends.  

What about in your free time?

I spend time with my daughter, she’s one year old.  I like to play with her outside.  I got her a Lamborghini remote controlled car.  I like to put her in it and then I can control where she goes.  I also like to dance.  In my younger days I had my own group.  We were call Resurrection Bad Boys from about 2004-2011.  I was the VP of the non-profit.  I grew out of that, though.

I like to travel.  I just went to Miami.  I’m thinking of going to Las Vegas in June. I lived in Arizona for a couple years when I was younger.  I want to go out of the country.  I think first would be Tokyo.  I like anime and the culture.  Then I’d want to go to Amsterdam and London.

What motivates you?

My mom, she’s a very strong willed person.  Stuff doesn’t get to her; she’s a single parent of 6 and has been through so much.  I see people in my neighborhood who are the same way, people who are struggling; it motivates me.

How did your time with PowerCorpsPHL impact you?

PowerCorps helped me cross that line from childhood to adulthood.  It helped me get to my serious side.  I was interested in working instead of just sitting around the house all day.  It helped with my professionalism.  I plan for the future instead of just today.  Also, I look at littering a lot different now.  I don’t litter at all anymore.  I look at my community differently too.  I pay attention to where I live.

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

I always come to the alumni events.  I have a good relationship with former crew leaders, they’re still my mentors.  And the Career Services, you would think that after you’ve been out of PowerCorpsPHL for a while they would put you at the back but they don’t.  They continue to support you and share opportunities.

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

I don’t miss it,  I’m still in it!  But when I was with Bicycle Coalition I missed being in a group with such a strong bond.

There wasn’t anything serious I didn’t like about PowerCorps. I mean someone would annoy me here and there but that was for my own good.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I will continue working until my daughter is old enough to walk and talk, then I’m going back to school for two years.  Within the next five years I want to get a degree.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Shout-out the Green Team, my boys they already know who they are, we around!  Also, I came up with the best chants in Cohorts 2 and 3, ask anyone.

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