A Second Chance: Rook’s Story

Go Global By Robyn Burns Nov 15, 2023

Rook grew up on a farm in Puerto Rico and dreamed of one day becoming a police officer. His dream came true when he earned his degree and got a job in law enforcement in New York City. But soon after, Rook was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which greatly impacted his eyesight and deemed him unfit for duty.

With his life plans suddenly off track, Rook began taking whatever odd jobs he could find and was barely breaking minimum wage. For some time, Rook experienced homelessness and was living out of the van he used for deliveries.

Rook heard about programs that trained people without a background in technology to be software engineers. He started to do research and found Pursuit, where he was accepted into a Fellowship for low-income individuals. After completing the course, Rook landed his first software engineering job with a starting salary of $85,000. With this salary, Rook was able to provide a better life for his family.

Rook has since built his career and is now thriving. He has been able to work remotely, spend time with his wife and three kids, and buy their first home.

“It’s remarkable to go from not knowing where I’m going to sleep to owning my own home,” said Rook.

Western Union Foundation + Pursuit

The Western Union Foundation is proud to support Pursuit and the successful programs they provide to help underserved populations gain job readiness training, software development career placement, and economic mobility. Since 2019, the Western Union Foundation and Pursuit have partnered to help more than 700 people gain critical skills needed to prosper.

Pursuit’s mission to create economic transformation aligns with the Western Union Foundation’s current social impact commitment, Prosperity Beyond Borders, which aims to drive more than $500 million in aggregate wage gains for disadvantaged, high-potential people.

Click here to donate to the Western Union Foundation and help empower more high-potential people like Rook.