Overcoming Adversity and Adapting to Change
In many forms, and in many eloquent ways, brilliant minds have echoed the same sentiment over the years: change is certain.
One historian, E.H. Carr, put his own twist on the saying by adding, “Change is certain. Progress is not.” While change might be inevitable, our ability to respond to the change is what truly determines our outcome. We may not have the ability to have a say in what changes come our way, but we do have the option to choose how we respond. For some, they choose to stand in the face of change and remain unadapting, while others take what has come their way and do the very best with the hand they have been dealt.
For Jevic Bosele, project engineer, those circumstances began in a place he never imagined his family would end up, thousands of miles away. Yet, he determined these circumstances would not have the final say.
Running Out of Options
“Once you go into the refugee camp, it’s like the last resort,” says Bosele.
As a 14-year-old boy, Jevic, his sister, and his mother were running out of options. The three were living as refugees in Uganda, Africa after fleeing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to an ongoing war.
“It’s hard because you’re not citizens, and it can be hard to find work. Financially, it got to a point where we just couldn’t keep up paying for everything,” says Bosele.
With nowhere else to turn, the family made the tough decision to enroll in a refugee camp.
“When you get in that situation, your options are really just to go to the refugee camps because there, at least, you get fed on a daily basis,” says Bosele.
“God was Gracious to Us”
“It’s kind of like a lottery,” says Bosele.
While in the refugee camp, Bosele’s family decided to take a chance and apply for the refugee program. This program is a combined effort of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program as well as other federal agencies along with several nonprofit organizations. Together, these groups help select families and individuals be admitted for resettlement into the U.S.
“Several thousand people apply,” says Bosele. “They read through the applications, select people who they are interested in, and then they interview you and review your story.”
This painstaking process isn’t quick. While the organizations and agencies were combing through information, Bosele and his family continued to live out their daily lives in the camp, not knowing what their future would hold or where they might end up. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Bosele and his family received the answer they had been praying for; they were accepted into the program and would be relocating to the U.S.
“It’s honestly just grace. God was gracious to us,” says Bosele.
Learning to Live in the U.S.
“I had a friend who was a blessing. He helped me get on a club soccer team, and his family helped take me to games,” says Bosele.
When Bosele and his family first arrived in the U.S., they made a quick pitstop in New York before heading straight for Lexington, KY. There, the family joined the Kentucky Refugee Ministries to get on their feet.
“They help you for the first couple months with things like finding an apartment, practicing some conversational English, and they also help you financially during that time until you are able to find a job,” says Bosele.
But for Bosele, it wasn’t the Kentucky Refugee Ministries where he found the most help. As a student finishing up the eighth grade and heading into his freshman year of high school, Bosele says it was his friends where he learned the most about life in the U.S.
“I have a very outgoing personality and I played soccer, so those things made life a lot easier,” says Bosele. “Playing soccer with kids from my high school and other high schools really helped me get used to my environment, get used to talking to people, and get comfortable around people.”
Getting an Opportunity
“Having a parent who didn’t go to school here, there were a lot of things that I just didn’t know,” says Bosele.
Bosele found his fit through school and sports, but as he progressed in high school, the time came to prepare for college. The only problem was, he didn’t know that he should be preparing.
“What made it hard was the fact that, in the U.S., there is a structure for where you are supposed to be heading. I did not know that I had to take the ACT or play soccer for scholarships to get ready for college,” says Bosele.
Thanks to the guidance of some more informed voices around him, Bosele was eventually able to take all the necessary tests required and eventually applied and was accepted to Transylvania University. Here, Bosele majored in business administration and Spanish while also playing soccer, but it was an opportunity he never expected that would change his life.
“That same friend who used to give me a ride to soccer suggested that I start applying for internships, and during that process, they actually introduced me to Stephen Gray,” says Bosele.
Bosele’s unique skillset may not have directly matched up with the standard expectations for someone pursuing an internship in the construction field, but Gray leadership was able to see his hidden potential.
“If I were judged solely on my work experience in construction, I wouldn’t be here. He took a shot on me and gave me an opportunity,” says Bosele.
Finding a Family
“It’s really like a family. Even the senior managers recognize that decisions don’t just impact them, but they impact everyone, and they make decisions that are best for the whole,” says Bosele.
After completing his time in the internship position, Bosele was offered and accepted a position as a project engineer. Whether it was working on complex Mission Critical projects, or participating with Gray’s Emerging Leaders Group, Bosele hit the ground running as a part of the Gray family.
“We’ve got your back, just like a family,” says Bosele. “If someone can’t do something because of certain reasons, inclement weather, busy with other work, or whatever, someone else just steps in and helps out, just like family.”
And it’s that family atmosphere that he believes has kept the company running to this day.
“It really has to go beyond work,” says Bosele. “It has to be a family in order for it to work, and that is why Gray is still standing, because it really is a family.”