It seems that the thread of redemption in Titan’s life finds its way into others’ lives, shaping their futures. Perhaps it’s contagious. Hang around him long enough and you just might experience it too.
“That night when I met Titan in the grocery store three years ago, he said we were meeting for something greater than just us. Let’s do something BIG, he said…I just never knew something like this would happen though, it’s crazy.”
Mike Tablit’s words set the stage for a collision of hope and promise. Throw in the ingredients of industry leading companies like GoEngineer and Stratasys, and you have yourself a great story.
Mike is the Program Director for Maxine Singer Youth Correctional Facility, or as he calls it, Camp Singer. The grounds serve as a place where the most at-risk teens throughout all of California are brought in, both girls and boys, hardened by their own broken environments and foolish decisions. These kids have the odds stacked against them, some seeing their own parents murdered, or at best, barely know their parents due to being in and out of prison as long as they can remember. While there, these at-risk teenagers are given an opportunity to succeed, both in completing high school, and gaining skills for the job market, before they become another victim of a violent and poverty-stricken upbringing.
When Titan was their age, he spent time in places like the Singer Youth Correctional Facility. “When I was growing up, there were times where I was homeless. I lived on the streets, in tents on beaches, and in boys’ homes. It is important for me to help these hardened kids. I feel like I can show them that I’ve been through a lot of the things that they’ve been through, I’ve seen what they’ve seen, and I’ve been able to overcome it all.”
Recently, Titan was invited to speak to the students at Camp Singer, to share about his life, and to tell his story of overcoming many of the same obstacles the teens have experienced. Titan met one girl there who lived with her grandmother, who repeatedly told her, “You will never amount anything.”
“No one should ever have to hear that. There is priceless value in every person, and I wanted to show them that, so they could then see it in themselves,” Titan says as his heart breaks for teens like this at Camp Singer.
While there, Titan began to talk about manufacturing, his machine shop, and even showed the teens some things that CNC machines produce for the world. For many there, something clicked. “If you can teach these kids something, and they can learn it, they see that they can accomplish something. When they see that they can accomplish something, they begin to see that they can overcome something,” Titan says.
This visit birthed what is now called Titan Built Careers. With the generous support of our sponsor GoEngineer, over $120,000 of modeling software was donated with high-end computers to the students. In addition to this, Stratasys donated a 3D Printer to Camp Singer. As a result, a program now exists, for those that graduate high school, to have an opportunity to learn high tech job skills, manufacturing and machining experience, and gain a second chance at life. And if that isn’t amazing enough, GoEngineer has even provided a 3D modeling instructor to teach a weekly class for the program. Phase two of Titan Built Careers will include Titan America MFG donating a CNC machine, as well as Titan’s time to train teens to manufacture parts, and in turn, re-shaping lives.
“There is one fifteen year old boy, who endured a life full of gang activity, drugs, and violence. He had a desire to do something, but had no direction in his life. After sitting in a couple of Titan Built Careers classes with the instructor, he came into my office and sat down. He told me, ‘I realize now I can get a job. I don’t want to be in a gang anymore.’ Today, he is the most talented student in the program at fifteen years old, and is the teacher’s assistant in the 3D modeling class! Another young woman just recently came into my office after hearing about TBC and she tells me, ‘I’m tired of being in a gang. I want out. I want to do something with my life.'”
The fifteen year old boy quickly taught himself custom design programs and made a custom cell phone cover. He was in shock at what his mind and hands could do when he applied himself. Who knows, in just a few years it may be a titanium piece on a rocket to Mars?
The Maxine Singer Youth Correctional Facility houses about twenty to thirty teens at a time, graduating about eight to ten students a year through independent studies and GED programs. In the first month that Titan Built Careers existed, four teens graduated high school, and eagerly moved on. “We’ve now created a way where kids want to work. They now have drive and ambition to excel not only in school, but also in life. Bottom line, we are able to touch more lives with Titan Built Careers. Eight out of ten kids are moving forward now. This is unheard of for most places like this,” Mike says.
Titan looks back at the people that tried to speak into his life, warning him of the path he was on, “A lot of people tried to get through to me when I was growing up, and they might have thought they failed. But I see now that it gave me a foundation when I needed it most. If you would have asked me when I was eighteen years old what my future was, I would have told you fighting is all I can do, and all I can do that really well. If you would have told me I would able to design parts with software like GoEngineer and create them with CNC machines to go to the bottom of the ocean or into outer space, I would have laughed at you. Being able to share my story, and my talents, with others like these teens is far beyond anything I would have imagined. I can’t wait to see all the great stories that will come out of Titan Built Careers!”