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.
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.
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.