H.O.P.E. DMV Alumnae Receive 2015’s President’s Awards


hope-37bMERCEDES SNYDER | President’s Award

Here is Mercedes’ Story

“When you’ve worked hard, and done well and walked through the doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it behind you. You reach back and you give folks the same chances that helped you succeed.

— Michelle Obama

Mercedes Snyder is a Help Desk Manager and has only been in the IT field since October of 2013. Mercedes was born in Washington, D.C. and had lived in DC majority of her life. At the age of 16 she moved to Texas with her mother. When Mercedes turned 20 she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy Jayden. Mercedes had worked for Walmart from 2007 to 2010. During this time, Mercedes was dealing with domestic violence at home and was constantly told she will never accomplish anything.

She decided to move back to Washington, D.C. to get out of that situation. Unfortunately, she had to leave her child in Texas because she could not afford to take care of him. As soon as Mercedes returned to the District, she took the first job she could get her hands on,” McDonalds”.

Working at McDonald’s she only made $7.80 per hour. With a promotion to a production manager she finally made $8.00 per hour.  At $8.00 per hour, Mercedes feared she may never be able to get her son back.

One day, Mercedes’ cousin Alyssia Suarez informed her of a program called the H.O.P.E. Project. She stated that the program helped her to make $45 K without a college degree and it was within the DMV area. Excited about this information, Mercedes attended the very next available H.O.P.E. Info-Session for this program.

After going through various stages of consideration such as a telephone interview, an essay, a face-to-face interview, and a test on a white page, Mercedes was finally selected for this opportunity, but initially was denied.

Not willing to give up, six months later Mercedes tried again when H.O.P.E. Project announced another class was about to begin. She was accepted into the program this time around! Within her first week she received a job working for HP, a BDPA Platinum Sponsor, supporting  Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) with a public trust Clearance.

Excited about this opportunity and how quickly things were changing, Mercedes knew that this way to get her son back and out of poverty. Being in the HOPE project took a lot of work having to study and research on a completely new field other than retail. The day before graduation she received an offer letter to work for Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA).  Soon, Mercedes was able to get her son back soon after that.

While being in the IT field, Mercedes knew that she had to keep pushing because that was not enough money to get a place on her own. Six months later she received a new opportunity to support Defense Health Agency (DHA)  and within eight months of being at the help desk level she was promoted to Help Desk Shift Manager.

The HOPE project has taught Mercedes how to take control of her life as well as to give back to her community. Mercedes is active mentor for new H.O.P.E. Project students.  Mercedes is now able to provide for her son and so much more.  She doesn’t just have job, she has a career!

“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people live.” 

— Michelle Obama



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