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Robert Davalos

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DELANCEY STREET FOUNDATION
August 25, 2008

This is my 4th year here at Delancey Street. You only have to stay for two, but you're allowed to stay for longer--I'm actually even applying to stay for two more. I was on my way back to prison for three strikes and a gang coordinator asked, if he could get me some help, would I take it. And I didn't expect it, I didn't have it coming--I spent most of my adult like in jail. I spend one year in a prison program called Choices, and that got me into Delancey Street. Before I got here I just existed, I wasn't really living. Delancey Street opened my eyes to a new way of life. Delancey Street is incredible because they leave all of the segregation out. In prison they split you up--Hispanic, black, white, and in Delancey Street you're just here. They give you the chance to just be yourself. Now, instead of destroying lives, I help make them better. *This review was collected by GreatNonprofits staff and entered on behalf of the reviewer

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I watch it everyday. Stuff doesn't happen overnight. I've been here for almost four years now and when I see young people, the gang bangers, come in and get excited about getting their GED or their license--something with their name on it--leaving behind that street corner mentality, that's wonderful. I mean, would you believe that all these guys spent years in prison? Now, instead of people running away from you, they run to you, and there's nothing in the world like that, to be trusted and taken at your word. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I don't think I'd be capable. What Mimi [Silbert] does is amazing. Yeah, Robert Davalos, CEO, I don't think so. What Mimi has done for the past 35 years shouldn't be changed, given the results that we have.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I've actually got a home now. I have a family and friends here. I mean, the jobs and opportunities revolve around be being a part of this Delancey Street family.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

we are the staff.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

I don't know what we could do, but I do know that we get up, each and every one of us, work hard to pay our way through here. I really don't know, but it all goes to keeping our doors open and helping other people.

Ways to make it better...

anything that would have made it better would have been something selfish, so no, there's nothing. I don't think it gets any better than this for a guy like me--to get an education, to be marketable, to be accepted by society. I'm somebody now.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

MY ROLE:
Client Served & I was in prison and Delancey Street helped me find a better way to live.