SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Tevin Persley has spent the past couple years disheartened over the lack of perceived job opportunities.
Or has it been how some opportunities have perceived Tevin?
With his high school and college degrees proudly on display in his family’s home, the 26-year-old has anxiously waited to land his first full-time job since graduating from Wiley College in 2017.
“I’ll start from the ground up. I just want an opportunity.”
We first interviewed Tevin in May, spending part of that day with him at a job fair, watching his personality and his resume shine.
Earlier this week, his persistence paid off.
Tevin has been offered a job as an auditor with Sam’s Town Casino & Hotel in downtown Shreveport.
“There’s nothing like a paycheck, but it’s more about the confidence that someone believed in me,” Tevin said Wednesday, just days after accepting the offer.
“From birth, I’ve been told no,” Tevin continued.
“Now someone actually gave me a chance. It’s changed my whole life and my look on life.”
While still on the job hunt two months ago, Tevin was left wondering whether a job offer in his field would ever come.
“I have been offered little jobs, call center jobs,” he explained.
“Not to be rude, that’s not what I went to school for.”
Adding to the frustration, Tevin often was left wondering whether second impressions doomed many of his job leads.
“When you put the resume online, then they meet you in person, the mood changes when they see you.”
Tevin fears his medical condition could be a deterrent.
“I have achondroplasia dwarfism,” he shared.
His mother, Sheritha Leonard, said Tevin nearly spent the first five years of his live in and out of the hospital.
“When Tevin was a baby, I lost him three times. Code blue, code blue” after doctors discovered a collapsed lung and fluid on the back of his brain, she recalled.
By kindergarten, Sheritha got her first glimpse of true hope, not long after Tevin began a class designed for children with special needs at Riverside Elementary School in Shreveport.
“I got a call from his teacher and she said Tevin doesn’t need to be in this class.”
Tevin was far outpacing other students and expectations from teachers.
He continued to excel in school at Youree Drive Middle and Captain Shreve High in Shreveport.
“He just became Mr. Popular,” a smiling Sheritha said.
“He won president of his sophomore class” and his junior and senior classes, she continued.
Tevin also spent many Friday nights running the sidelines of Gator football games, with the cheerleaders, as one of the school’s mascots, Al E. Gator Jr.
“High school taught me I can do it,” Tevin bragged.
“People judge by appearances and think they’re not qualified because you look a certain way,” said Paige Brossette, an employment placement specialist with Goodwill Industries, tasked by Louisiana Rehabilitation Services to help Tevin find a job.
“Immediately, I’m like, this guy has got it,” Paige continued.
And, finally, someone agreed with her assessment.
When talking about his recent job interview with a representative of Sam’s Town, Tevin said the casino official was impressed with his recent TV interview on “The Good Stuff.”
"When she walked in, she said, 'Oh, I saw you on TV'," Tevin recalled.
“They were amazed with the story and praised me on my perseverance.”