Listen to Pablo's story. Audio Producer: Laura Bult

Pablo Modesto grew up in a Bronx housing project with his parents and siblings. Due to a higher education opportunity program, he was able to go to a small liberal arts college in upstate New York for a small fraction of the tuition cost. Pablo is now 25 years old and nearly 4 years out of college, and was recently let go from the small local cable company where he held a management position at the time of this interview. The company had been struggling financially and was cutting Pablo’s hours to the point where he could no longer afford his rent and student loan bills. He is receiving unemployment and living with his mother in the Bronx, just blocks away from where he grew up. In addition to looking for another job,Pablo is working on his music. He busks on subways, plays the bass and the synthesizer for an experimental rock group called Con/science, or performs alone when he can’t afford to pay his bandmates. In spite of a tight financial situation, Pablo remains optimistic about his options: “I’m young and I’m just living day to day,” he said, “I’m not focusing too much on 5 years from now or 10 years from now, I’m just focusing on what I can be doing right now.”

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“Happily, though, my fears turn out to be entirely unwarranted: during a month of poverty and toil, no one recognizes my face or my name, which goes unnoticed and for the most part unuttered.”

- Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich