Speech delivered during the 2017 Employment Champions Breakfast.
Good morning, my name is Jacori Garrett. I want to thank Skills for Chicagoland’s Future for inviting me and a special thanks to Walgreens for giving me the morning off to join you here.
Everyone has a different story, and we collect the pieces of our stories and shape our narrative as we go through life. As you saw earlier in the video, my story so far has been shaped by my father, more specifically the void that was left when he was taken from us.
My dad’s name was Cory. And earlier this year I had to say goodbye to him too soon when he was shot and killed. When my family lost him, so many things had to change. We all had to step up to help each other.
What did that mean for me? It meant doing what I could to support my family and become the man of the house. I needed to work more to keep income coming for my family. I took on the responsibility of helping to raise my 18-month-old sister, Kori. And I recommitted to making sure everything I was doing was focused on making my family’s lives even better. That’s my priority right now. Doing things that make the lives of the people I love easier. They’ve already been through so much. If I can work a little harder, help out with my sister, and pay some of the family’s bills, those things will lighten the load each day.
Loss can be an incredible motivator. I want to make sure my family knows they do not have to worry about me. And though I know they don’t want to ask too much of me –– because what mother wants her son to be the man of the house at 19 –– I also know how much of a burden it lifts.
That’s why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to become a part of Skills’ Beyond the Diploma program and work at Walgreens. Working for a company like Walgreens, learning the business from the ground up and having the chance to advance through the company all while they invest in my education, is helping me secure a future for my family. Walgreens invests in us as employees because they care. I’m a witness to this firsthand. Both Walgreens and the team at Skills helped me through the difficult time of my father’s death. They supported me and gave me something steady in my life –– work. I knew that I had a place to be and that stability truly helped me.
While the loss of my father is still a big part of my story, I know that it won’t be the only thing that defines the path for my life. Everyone’s story has different twist and turns. My story won’t mirror yours and I hope yours doesn’t mirror mine. But what we all know is there are different paths to success. I can confidently say that I am on a path to success. I know that in around a year and a half I’ll have worked my way up at Walgreens and will have completed my Associates Degree at Harold Washington College. Skills, Walgreens, and the Beyond the Diploma program have provided me this opportunity and I am excited to continue down this path. I am excited to dream about my future and create new parts of my story.
On behalf of myself and my family –– thank you Walgreens, thank you to everyone here who has supported this work.
Now it is my honor to introduce the Mayor of Chicago, The Honorable Rahm Emanuel.