Since graduating from Carmen Ainsworth High School in 2010, Clyde Bell II hasn’t stopped moving forward. He left his hometown at 18 and moved Georgia to attend Clark Atlanta University where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in business marketing.

Bell has been moving forward ever since, but he says without TeenQuest, he may not have had the confidence to start his journey.

“I remember how shy I was,” says Bell. “I had no confidence. Being in TeenQuest, I was put outside of my comfort zone a lot of the time.

“If I had never experienced that, I would have never left to go to college in another state. It [the program] taught me to be adaptive and try new things.”

Now, Bell works in inside sales at Kumho Tire USA, a manufacturer that makes tire products, in Atlanta, GA. Moving forward, he plans to attend Georgia State University to obtain an MBA and continue his career in the automotive industry.

Below details how TeenQuest helped Bell get to where he is today and what he is doing now.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I provide inside sales support. I manage the account for one large, multi-million-dollar retailer with stores across the nation. I also manage accounts for small tire shop entities’ providing ordering processing and sales support. Finally, I provide marketing and sales support for 15,000 retail locations nationwide.

What is the best part of your job?

The fact that I get to work with cars. I’ve always been a car guy, so being in a position where I get to work with a product that I love beats everything.

How did lessons learned in TeenQuest help you in your current position?

The biggest lesson I learned was teamwork. It made me realize you aren’t going to be able to work with your friends all the time and that you have to be adaptive to new people. When I started TeenQuest, I was the kid who only wanted to work with my friends, but by the end, I could work with whoever was available.

What stands out to you as an important lesson from TeenQuest?

We did different activities to help break us out of our shell or put us in an uncomfortable situation. Those lessons were helpful because you’re not always going to be in a comfortable situation, but you can learn how to look comfortable even if you are not.

What advice can you give current TeenQuest students?

First, listen to your parents. Second, listen to your TeenQuest facilitators. Finally, listen to yourself. The key word is listen. You never know what you can learn from someone or what insight they may give you. You might not always follow their advice, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to them and take the lessons they can give.

What has been your proudest moment since TeenQuest?

Graduating college. For me to jump out of the window at 18 and move to Atlanta without family and friends was nerve-racking. But being able to persevere through the hard times made holding that piece of paper that much better. My college’s motto is ‘find a way to make it,’ and I did.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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