We are extending a warm congratulations to Jovanie, the 2023 Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Youth Ambassador Award Winner!
“Project Bridge opened my eyes by telling me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, and I believed them.” His mindset changed from a troubled youth into a confident, hard-working, goal-oriented entrepreneur. Jovanie knows what it takes to achieve his goals and he is determined that nothing will distract him from achieving his dreams.
He remembers the moment it all changed for him when he was 16. Within 8 months of each other, both of his grandparents passed away. This led to a downward spiral of poor choices. He was cut from the basketball team and his grades were tanking. It wasn’t long before he landed in trouble.
Jovanie entered Project Bridge in January of 2022 and within a brief period of time, he had his first job. Next month, he will celebrate his one-year anniversary with the company. While at work one day, he was stationed in the area where the pressure washers were kept. He distinctly remembers thinking that he could start a business doing pressure washing and auto detailing. This led Jovanie to set new goals of one day becoming a business owner.
Today, Jovanie is the proud owner of Saint Shine Detailing, LLC. He attributes this achievement to the help he received from the Project Bridge staff. Jovanie was able to receive guided instruction and support in setting up his LLC, and was also enrolled in the Elite 60 Program which includes weekly virtual mentoring known as “L.E.A.D. Sessions.” These sessions are focused on guiding youth in the areas of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Advancement and Development.
Each week Jovanie was able to hear from a community leader, business professional, or entrepreneur who shared their experiences and what they learned along their journey. In addition, funds raised for Elite 60 enabled Project Bridge to help Jovanie with his business start-up costs.
When asked about his business he stated, “Project Bridge put me in a position to win… They helped me get to where I wanted to be.”
Jovanie realizes that many youth who enter the Juvenile Justice System revert to hanging out with the wrong crowd and making poor choices. He stated he has been able to avoid that pitfall by putting himself with the right people. He knew that when he returned home, he had to “switch it up” and surround himself with people who were supportive of his success. He now believes that “consistency is key to everything” and that you need to set your goal and do the work.
Jovanie has a strong desire to help others and pay forward the help he was given. In April, Jovanie will be returning to Project Bridge as a “Shark” in the mock “Shark Tank” event the circuit is hosting. Youth currently enrolled in the program will have an opportunity to pitch their business idea to the “Sharks” for a chance to receive support in launching their own small business.
Learn more about Project Bridge or find a program near you below.