Friday, July 22, 2016

Goodbye, Youth ALIVE!

In 2011 I began my journey with Youth ALIVE!. I remember my interview like it was just yesterday. I was 20 years old, I entered the office trembling with palms sweaty but certainly in a killer professional outfit, my nails painted red. I stumbled on my words as I struggled to give the perfect answer. Sweat gathered on my top lip and my foot would not stop shaking. I laugh as I reflect on that day. Throughout my years at Youth ALIVE! I challenged myself to feel the fear and experience growth. Sure, I asked stupid questions and made many mistakes as I learned the ropes. But one thing is for sure,  I never gave up, I never stopped being committment. The organization gave me an arena to develop professional skills, it gave me a platform to share my story of survival and resiliency, it gave me the financial stability to be able to uplift my family and myself. Youth ALIVE! cradled me in like I was family. As the youngest member of the staff, my colleagues and supervisors provided me with patience and guidance. Every November 20th my ED presented me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a sentimental card, honoring my life as I celebrated another year of beating the bullet that almost killed me. I remember one year Tammy Cloud organized a surprise celebration party with all of my loved ones present. Mom, Eli, David, Demetria, my students, and others joined the surprise and gifted me a volleyball with positive messages written by all 35 of my students at Castlemont and Youth ALIVE! Staff. I think back to those days and my heart smiles and my mind fills with thoughts of beautiful memories. 

I kicked ass, though. In the time that I worked with Youth ALIVE! I received two promotions. I went from being a direct service provider to management. From handing out surveys after my workshop presentation to creating excel worksheets and loggin in all of the information reflected on those papers. From racing students during icebreakers to racing against the clock to write reports and meet deadlines. Oh, the sweet life.

With all this said, It is with mixed emotions that I make the official announcement. As of August 19 I will no longer be with the agency. Of course, It was not an easy decision to make because I truly enjoy working with all of my colleagues and most importantly because I LOVE my TNT kiddos. I appreciate the opportunities I have been given at Youth ALIVE! and the professional guidance and support. I wish the agency nothing but success in the future. I am choosing to make a promising power move and to also focus on my academic goals.

I am beyond excited to share specifically what is the next for me! But for now, you'll have to digest the information that I just shared and hang on to the suspense. I PROMISE you’ll love the news!

With Oakland love,
Caheri Gutierrez

Friday, April 22, 2016

Promoted as Program Coordinator!!!!!

I've had the pleasure of being with Youth ALIVE! for 5 years.

The first time my family engaged with the agency was in 2006 when my brother was shot. He ended up at Highland Hospital and was assigned a skilled life changing Case Manager through Youth ALIVE!, his name is Emilio Mena. I remember sitting in my living room on a hot summer day in East Oakland just studying the way that Emilio was able to engage my hard-headed brother. A lot of "yes" head nodding and real discussion. First time I ever witnessed my brother grow love for a male role model. I knew the agency represented authentic community work.
Two years later in 2008 I would have the pleasure of opening my eyes and writing "Hello" (because I had a breathing tube pierced in my throat) to my guardian angel Case Manager, Tammy Cloud. She was assigned to me when half of my tender face was blown off by a random shooting. As many of you know...Tammy Cloud is badazz, hands down. Straight altered my life by providing me with trauma informed care, a strong system of support, and instilling hope in my heart. She is one of the main factors that has propelled me to go so hard in life. She is why I am working with Youth ALIVE! today. 

I began my career in the filed of Violence Prevention as a Violence Prevention Educator, I did that work for 3 years. After advocating tirelessly (because I wanted to be like Emilio and Tammy so bad) YA! changed my title to Case Manager. For the past two years Ive enjoyed learning the skills it takes to transform and inspire the lives of "AT- PROMISE YOUTH". Ive learned and grown so much professionally. This past month was a challenge for me because our Program Coordinator transitioned out of our program. Scrambling to keep a continuum of contract deliverables, training our young people, facilitating workshops, and case managing youth - I bravely stepped up to the plate and willingly took on added responsibility - like a boss. Through this experience I did a lot of self-reflecting and realized that Its time to move out of direct service work and step into management, a new level in my professional career. I interviewed for the position, went through a grueling hiring process, received the offer letter, negotiated my package, and after a satisfying conversation I accepted the position of Program Coordinator!

There is it.Today I completed my first official work week as management. It has been a busy but awesome ride. I anxiously look forward to building on to my professional experience, attending training, and learning management skills. 

Thank you to all of my mentors who groomed me for this position. I could've have done it without you! HOORAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

Pictures of my work at Youth ALIVE! over the years

Saturday, April 2, 2016

My story put together by UC Berkeley students

I worked with two talented UC Berkeley students to create this short documentary that features my personal story of overcoming gun violence. Not only do I share my testimony but I also talk about extremely helpful tools that I received from Youth ALIVE! to help alleviate anxiety, depression, and overall trauma. Check it out and maybe share it. The story and the tools can potentially help someone out there.

Below is the link !


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dear Life

So much has happened since I last briefly checked in. Im kicking ass in school, work is wonderful because I am growing within my agency and learning so much along the way, I'm still single and loving every moment of it :) SERIOUSLY. Caheri's Closet successfully gave birth to a swaggy season 4. My family is healthy ...cant complain. My older brother was released from prison last week.

I'm loving life and very thankful for every opportunity that has emerged.

Im working on a few blog posts ...stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

searching for scholarships and grants

I'm searching for scholarships and grants that offer financial assistance to someone like me who is a first generation latina attending college, survivor of violence, a woman, a community leader, pursuing Nursing, attends community college , love's oprah and rihanna, is left handed ....etc LOL

Feel free to share this information with people who might have potential connections or resources.

I am willing to share my story, speak on a subject, facilitate a presentation, write essays, dance, sing, act, read a poem.

my contact info is

Thank You

Thursday, January 23, 2014

music by caheri

I'm into singing, everyone who really knows me, knows that. Ive been singing since about 5 years old. Anyways , i was looking through my old archives and found this little gem. This song was recorded in 2009 shortly after the shooting. If you listen closely you can hear my lisp. Back in 09 my mouth palatalization was worse than it is now. It was harder for me to make out precise sounds. Almost like Kanye on his "thru the wire" track.  The song isnt the best quality because it hasnt been mastered and maybe i would change some of my lyrics to make the chorus more complex but I must say that the message resonates with you because it is so poignant.
Singing is one of the things i do to release stress and to bring calming. I love singing just as much as i love volleyball. In fact in 2003 I was torn in between making the decision of staying and recording a demo with a talent agency named "Tengo Talento" or accepting the golden bear volleyball club offer. 
I chose volleyball, but i never lost the passion for my music.