Every day Gino wakes at 5:30am. After getting ready and eating breakfast he hops on his bike and starts the 4-mile journey to Dillard’s where he works as the store’s Support Manager. He is proud of his job and loves working at Dillard’s. You can tell from his smile that he has a warm and welcoming personality. Upon arriving at work, he helps prepare the store for opening and works until noon. Then he hops back on his bike for a 5-mile ride over to Cape Fear Community College where he has been a full-time student for the past two years. Last Friday, he graduated with his Associates degree in Arts. He says he has always loved school. He regrets not finishing school when he was younger and is determined to follow through with his Bachelor’s degree now. After class, Gino heads back to Dillard’s to finish his day at work and then bikes home. This life, the life he has now built for himself, is a far cry from the one he had when he first walked into StepUp Wilmington back in 2015. He was referred by Sister Isaac from Basilica Shrine of St. Mary after moving to Wilmington. He came to Wilmington to be close to his son and the opportunity to go back to school. In 2015, he started Jobs Week and was so impressed by the dedication of the staff and volunteers. He says he will never forget the StepUp core values that were instilled in him on the first day, which he credits for keeping him motivated to come back every day. He started out as a Dock Manager at Dillard’s and was promoted after 6 months to his current position. He loves his job and is happy to have work. Next week Gino will start as a student in the Cameron School of Business at UNCW. His focus is to get his Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Relations. He says he hopes to move up with Dillard’s and use his experience and knowledge to advance in his career.