Mauricio wanted to look tough as a kid, so he began getting tattoos on his hand and arm when he was barely a teenager in Honduras. He came to Maryland at 14 to reunite with family, and those tattoos were a magnet for trouble. In high school, he was beaten up by teens who wrongly assumed the tattoos meant he was a rival. He was a target for law enforcement who also assumed the worst when they saw his inked arm and hand, particularly a very visible dollar sign next to his palm.
At 22 Mauricio was much wiser than his teenage self. He wanted to break from the negative and dangerous assumptions people made about him, earn his high school diploma, and position himself for a better job and a better life. He came to Identity’s Crossroads Youth Opportunity Center looking for that second chance. There he studied for his GED, built up his workforce development and social/emotional skills like conflict resolution. Finally, Identity helped Mauricio realize his dream to remove his very visible tattoos – beginning a series of laser removal treatments on his hand – transforming this magnet for trouble into a fresh start.
Identity believes Mauricio — and all youth –deserve a second chance, and tattoo removal is one of the many ways the Youth Opportunity Centers help remove barriers preventing youth from reaching their full potential. This service is free to youth who think their visible tattoos are an issue for their safety, or a barrier to finding work. In return, the youth complete a significant number of community service hours for each tattoo that is removed.