San Diego

DACA Recipient on Path to Success Thanks to Internship With the City of San Diego

A DACA recipient says he’s on the path to success thanks to a unique internship with the City of San Diego.

In a Point Loma Library an unlikely library assistant is ready for his next chapter.

“This is my, the start of my success,” said Jahir Castelo.

Castelo is a part-time library assistant, and full-time self-motivator.

“Sometimes we have to be our own heroes to step up to the plate, to make sure we reach that success,” Castelo.

Working at this library is his first real job.

“Thanks to DACA I was able to have this job that I have now with the mentorship,” Castelo.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, defers deportation proceedings for two years for qualified individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The program also gives them work authorization that can be renewed.

The 22-year-old got the job after taking part in the city’s mentoring program. The program targets teenagers and young adults like Castelo who otherwise wouldn’t have opportunities to work in San Diego.

The program allows young adults to spend between 30 to 200 hours with a city mentor in any department such as in the library, city clerk, or Human Resources. After completing the hours they then have to attend a training. The program is open to San Diego residents who are between the ages of 16 and 24.

“My mind is more open to new ideas. They’re a lot greater. They’re more expansive,” Castelo said.

Castelo crossed the border legally with his family when he was 4 years old but overstayed his visa. He said he knows their are people who hold different opinions on his current undocumented status.

“Sure, I’ll listen to them but it’s not really my business,” Castelo said. “We all face challenges. We all face opposition and differences.”

Castelo wants to get his doctorate in Kinesiology on top of a double minor in American Sign Language and classical literature. After that he wants to pay it forward.

“Everyone in San Diego is an opportunity. It’s a chance to bring people to a better place,” Castelo explained.

Castelo said that after only after six months on the job he is already a candidate for a promotion.

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