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