James Williams’ Making a Difference in Our Community

James Williams recently started his journey with Buckingham Properties beginning his Field Associate role in September. In his short time, it has become clear that he does not simply seek to make an impact within his role here, but throughout the Rochester community. He does this through his role as a New York Youth Advocate under Buckingham tenant and nonprofit: Youth Advocate Programs.

Youth Advocate Programs offer, “uniquely delivered community-based services that are more racially equitable, have better outcomes, and are more cost effective than out-of-home placement”. Some of these services include job readiness programs, sensitivity training, and mentorship. Through this program, James has had the opportunity to work directly with 8 young individuals ages 12-17 in the hopes of turning their lives around.

“You become a mentor for the kids. Root for them, teach them to set and hit their goals,” says James. The individuals James works with are affected by struggles such as gang affiliation, lack of school motivation, drug use, lack of financial literacy, and lack of long-term or even short-term goals.

In order to connect with the kids, James shares his own experience of coming up from a similar background. “When the kids see me, they see what they could be because I used to be them. I know what it’s like to think these guys in the street have it all figured out with their nice things, but it’s an illusion,” he explains.

James grew up in the streets, constantly getting into trouble and learning the hard way that it was not the life he wanted. “I flipped my story and turned my life around. I started a cleaning business; I’ve begun a successful career at Buckingham. They see that and realize they can have that too,” says James.

The individual James has been working with most recently is another emerging success story and evidence of his positive impact on the community. So far, the individual has started regularly attending school again and stopped smoking marijuana. Now, James aims to teach him the benefits of working hard and saving his money. He took this to the next level by offering to match the kid’s savings at the end of this year from his own personal bank account.

James Williams is an example of how sharing your story and strengths can change the trajectory of someone’s life for the better. The positive impact James’ encouragement and mentorship has had/continues to have on Rochester’s youth could help put an end to a generational cycle that has been plaguing the families he works with for years. We are proud to have an individual on the Buckingham team with such a passion for bettering the lives of the young people in our community and look forward to more greatness to come from James both inside and outside the workplace.