In my work, I love being able to touch everything that is a part of me. I had previously worked with the Latino community and with first-generation youth in schools. The one thing I had never had a chance to do until coming to the Center was work with the LGBTQIA+ community.
The most rewarding thing that I do is work with young people who have left their previous life behind and shown up at our door seeking housing and support.
There really is no typical day. I do individual therapy sessions, I might hold a group therapy session, or jump on a video call with a youth who no longer lives here but is in our after-care program getting therapy. I may sit with a youth and order binders or sit with another youth and call and make sure their medication is being processed. It really is direct engagement from the minute I clock in until the end of the day.
I have been involved with youth who are actively seeking asylum or are being released from detention centers since I started working in the residential drop-in space. We have written letters and had youth housed and released to us.
We often provide them with one of the first chances they get to be able to be seen and supported in being themselves.
It’s really the holistic way that we work with them saying: “You’re safe now, you can breathe now.” A lot of our youth who are seeking asylum, being here is their chance to breathe.
I really consider myself a Center-lifer. I want to be here for the long run. If we invest in those who are investing in our community, we can only grow.
Hometown: Pasadena, CA
Year Started Working at the Center: 2013
Staff Position: Mental Health Clinician for Children,
Youth & Family Services