Story Share by: Joshua Epps, Brockton, MA
My name is Joshua Epps (24) and I have been living in Brockton for over 15 years. I am truly proud to be living amongst the city of champions and have learned so much. Brockton is such a diverse place full of Iconic places such as DW field park, Brockton High School, Supremes Pizza, Brockton Library, and many more. From my time living in Brockton I realized how strong the people of Brockton are, and there are many communities that stand up for each other. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s a perfect city, we still are fighting for lots of causes. For example, we are fighting for a stronger education within the school system, affordable housing to prevent homelessness, more funding for communities of color and small businesses, and many more. I’ve always known that Brockton was a great city but it wasn’t until I was blessed with an amazing opportunity just a few years ago.
I was fortunate enough to take on a summer internship with the Mayor’s office in Brockton of 2018. This one internship had opened up so many doors for future opportunities, partnerships and friendships. I was working alongside the mayor’s staff assisting them with projects and meeting other officials within the community. Some projects I worked on were creating a calendar of events so that the staff can be updated on what’s next. I also took the time to create certificates that would allow the mayor’s staff to use for special occasions. There were a few times that we went to residential highrise buildings in which the late Mayor Bill Carpenter would interact with the elderly. I would take notes and submit it to one of the mayor’s staff. This internship was truly an honor because it had allowed me to work amongst people that were solving real Brockton problems. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of the experience and I’ve learned so much about myself in the process. I’ve learned that time management is so crucial to any job that you’re in and I’m still learning this today.
The Mayor’s office internship had allowed me to be a part of many more communities. I’ve managed to build a strong network of people during my time there and when the internship was over. For example, thanks to a good friend of mine, I was able to join the NAACP Brockton chapter. The NAACP is an amazing organization that allows people of color to join forces and fight for modern day civil rights. The reason I joined the NAACP is because I wanted to get more involved within my community and to make a positive change. I am a part of the NAACP next gen program which is a leadership training program for young adults to become leaders within the NAACP. There are tasks involved that you can participate with your branch and team cohorts. From this opportunity, I was able to form friendships within my local branch and also interact with the current branch president Phyllis Ellis.
A huge milestone in my life was when I was introduce to a nonprofit called MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board formerly known as BAWIB. This is a nonprofit that provides job opportunities for adults and youth respectively. They have a location called Youthworks in which job coaches help youth find employment within the ages of 14-24. Right before I had finished my college career I was introduced to this program. This was very nice because I had gotten my first official partnership with a nonprofit organization that cares about the community. I was first hired to create a few videos to help promote their brand image. Youthworks has numerous programs that allow youth to prosper such as banking/finance, open mic night, summer jobs programs, financial literacy workshops and many more. Through this experience I was able to network with a lot of credible people. I met the current vice president of Eastern Bank, Nelia Arruda and she was giving a workshop to youth about personal finance. Nelia introduced me with resources to open up my own business. This was only possible through being a part of Youthworks and I’m forever grateful for that.
Now I am a self-employed small business owner of a company called “Joshguy Productions”. I started my business in August 2019 and it’s been a learning process for me. My desire of this business is to serve the Greater Brockton communities with photo & video content. Serving nonprofits like MassHire, restaurants, community events, entrepreneurs, artists, and many more. For example, I even had the opportunity to partner with Jackie Rose (Founder of BuzzAround News) to video tape an interview with Former Mayor Moises Rodrigues who is now one of Brockton’s current City Councilors at large.
I’d like to say thank you to Mary Waldron, she is one of Brockton’s finest when it comes to community. She is the reason why I was able to get the internship with the Mayor’s Office and also the partnership with MassHire. I said before how Brockton is full of amazing and diverse communities and I truly mean that. Brockton gives hope to people and also the youth. For example, there was a turkey drive that happened last November and we raised lots of turkeys so that families in need can have a meal for Thanksgiving. There are also poetry events that happen at the library and they encourage youth and adults to express themselves through art. Art goes beyond just painting and drawing, it’s music, spoken word, dance, poetry, and many more. Brockton welcomes art through the Stacy Adams Cultural Arts building.
Even though we are living in troubled times now, I just want to thank Brockton for allowing me to grow and to serve my community. I hope that when you read this you know a little more about how I view and care about Brockton. We will continue to get through this together!