Jesus Benitez works as the Mentor Coordinator for CUNY Fatherhood Academy focusing on helping young fathers pursue an HSE diploma and enroll in college with the understanding that earning a college degree is the most effective path toward providing long-term economic sustainability for themselves and their families. Jesus also works as an Educational Case Manager for the Center for Immigrant Education and Training (CIET) which supports immigrants with low incomes and their families in becoming lifelong learners and independent, contributing citizens of New York City.
Jesus Benitez was raised in the Bronx by his mother, a single parent, who worked two jobs to support their family. As the oldest of four, Jesus helped take care of the needs of his brothers and sisters when his mother was at work, and provided guidance as best as he could.
However, he was really just a kid himself. In order to make his mom’s life a little easier, he got a job working as a cashier when he was 13. By the age of 17, Jesus became a father and dropped out of school to support his own family full-time. Jesus became a single parent when his son was almost two years old. Eventually, it became clear to Jesus that he needed to go back to school.
Jesus joined the CUNY Fatherhood Academy to obtain his High School Equivalency diploma (HSE), which changed his life for the better. With some help, he was able to enroll at LaGuardia Community College, where he was a LaGuardia Ambassador and spoke on the need for scholarships for students of color.
You can read the episode transcript here.
The CUNY Fatherhood Academy (CFA) is a free program designed to promote responsible parenting and economic stability for unemployed and underemployed fathers ages 18-30, through education, employment, and personal development.
The New York City Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) helps address increasing disparities among Black and Latino men between the ages of 16 and 24 in education, employment, health and justice.
Generation NYC is an online database of resources in the New York City area, offering resources regarding early education, child care, education, employment, financial help and parenting skills.