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