What does Frank Rodriguez, a 48-year old NYPD Detective at Missing Persons Squad from the 40th precinct want to do after he retires late October? Sleep? Go zip lining? Trout fishing? Nope. He wants to teach. And to prepare for his new career, in June 2013 he enrolled in the Teachers Assistant Certification Program available at the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College, a part of the CUNY educational system in the Bronx.
In their recent marketing campaign, Hostos features Rodriguez as one of their success stories. He is quoted as saying “The Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development offered more than I expected, and challenged me throughout the program and now has encouraged me to continue my education and to continue to give back to my community.” The 54-hour course enables graduates of the program to “work in education settings under the supervision and direction of a teacher, providing support to students who require assistance in developmental, behavioral and/or learning tasks.” Rodriguez has always been connected to his community and now feels empowered because he has learned how to deal with different situations that can occur in a classroom for special needs individuals.
Like many adults, Rodriguez never had the opportunity to finish his degree and major in education. Because he entered the police force early on, he is very grateful that he can now retire as a 20-year veteran and focus on his love for education. He has always wanted to teach and would like to work with mentally disabled adults to help orient them, assist them in finding jobs and more. Rodriguez feels that many parents are either in denial or don’t catch on that their child needs special education. As a result, these young adults fall through the cracks and don’t get the help they deserve that would enable them to live a much fuller life. He aims to change that by working with an organization specializing in helping these individuals. Rodriguez lists YAI, whose slogan is “Seeing Beyond Disability” as one such organization.
Rodriguez is excited about what the future holds for him. He may even write a children’s book! What is very clear is that whomever this man touches through his dedicated work will be blessed.