STRIVE's Newest Board Member Gives Back to Organization that Changed His Life


Roy Castro came to STRIVE in 2003, having struggled through most of his life. His father left the family when he was an infant.  As a teenager, he dropped out of school. He was sentenced on a drug charge at the age of 20. While in prison Roy completed his GED. When he was released from custody he knew he had to take a new step in his life to survive, but he didn't know what that step should be. He was looking for an opportunity, but also Roy was trying to learn who he was as a person. 

STRIVE helped Roy take the first step in changing his life trajectory. He enrolled in CORE, STRIVE’s proprietary career development program that assists individuals prepare for the workforce. CORE helped Roy prepare key workforce skills, such as interviewing and the job search process. It prompted him to think about building a career. Most importantly, CORE offered a space for Roy to learn about himself, to take a deeper look at his experiences and choices he had made in the past. Most importantly, CORE showed Roy that he had potential to succeed.

His first job was humbling, cleaning out refrigerators and equipment at Edy’s Ice Cream. But Roy knew he had great potential, and after impressing his supervisors he was promoted - soon after he began managing the company's sub-contractors. With each step Roy learned more and more about the business and how to make it succeed. He succeeded personally too - he bought a house and started a family.

When Roy heard about an opportunity to buy DM Ice Cream Corporation in Long Island City, he made a bid for the company. In 2013 he bought it and became CEO, and within three years he had doubled the company's revenue. STRIVE had taught Roy that it was always good to seek advice, so he turned to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. He sought guidance from industry and business leaders, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and developed a business and growth plan.

But Roy wanted to do more. At STRIVE Roy had learned that employers look for recruits who are prepared to work and are determined to succeed, so he looked for staff with the right attitude and a willingness to learn. He turned to STRIVE and spoke to a new generation of CORE participants. He shared his story and inspired others to take a new step and transform their lives. 

Now the newest member of STRIVE's Board of Directors, Roy remains humbled. "I came to STRIVE at the lowest part of my life, where I was told 'no' numerous times," he says. "STRIVE said 'yes!' and believed in me. They committed to helping me succeed in work and in life. It is an honor to serve on the Board and give back to the organization that changes so many lives, that changed my life."