Look at me! I have a job!! :] Exactly a month after SNL ended I begun a new endeavor at Pacific Clinics as a Mental Health Worker, aka. case manager. To say that I was officially hired full-time has been a huge blessing in my life. It had been one and a half years since I walked across the stage to receive my diploma from my very expensive university; and, as time passed without employment the harder it was becoming to pay back my loans. And let me tell you, having those payments over your head without money to pay them… not fun at all.

To think back to how I was linked to this job has been interesting. Though I did not realize it until now, all of the little steps that I have taken to this moment began when I started interning with the USC: Behavioral Employment Program study under Dr. Stan Huey a year ago in September 2009. After not having any luck with my job search, I decided to reach out to get more experience in psychology research since I hadn’t done much during my undergrad years. Working as a research assistant, I was exposed to many new things, people and experiences; every session I sat in, every data entry shift, every phone interview, I learned something new. The BEP study taught me a lot, especially under the mentorship of Caitlin; I believe that she has taught me that it is possible to achieve my dream of working with juvenile youth at such a young age – considering everyone that I have worked with previously has been a few years older than me… Push #1.

Push #2. I volunteered to working with another client with a new counselor I had not met before, Kris. Though you can never compare stories of at-risk youth, I can honestly say that this has been my most challenging so far. I have never felt so connected and emotionally invested in trying to have this young man succeed in life, and, I was very happy to know that Kris also felt the same way about working with this young man. Knowing how hard this particular case was and seeing how much work Kris was putting into it, without any particular benefits or incentives for himself [volunteering besides working full time] reminded me of the passion I also had to work in this field.

These two amazing individuals mirrored to me what I have been wanting to do with as much passion that I want to do it with. They lit my “determination fire” that much more. And to top it off! Not only did they remind me of my career goals, they were also the catalyst to me being employed today. [[If either of you are reading, thanks a million!]]

Though I have gone a year and a half without obtaining a full time, stable job after graduation, I am very happy that I did not give up on my dream and settle for another job – on something that I know that I would not like doing. And although I am also hardly in the beginning stages of my career, I would not have traded this past year and a half for anything else. Thanks for everyone who believed in my goal and supported my decisions. I hope that anyone who reads this post is reminded of their own goals and not to give up on them, no matter how hard the road may be.


Last Tuesday, September 14th was a very good day for me. After a productive day, I was looking forward to attending ‘An Evening with Father G’ at my beloved Loyola Marymount University. Like always, Father G brought about a very big crowd – so big that LMU scrambled to find a bigger location to house the event. He’s just that popular.

Father G was there on a book tour he is doing for his newest book: “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion”. You can pick up your copy at any major bookstores, or here: http://www.amazon.com/Tattoos-Heart-Power-Boundless-Compassion/dp/1439153027. However, instead of reading a chapter from the book or whatnot, Father G did it in true Homeboy fashion and just spoke from the heart. In that hour and a half, he told stories of the homies, many of which I personally knew, that brought a lot of the audience members to tears.


Blood Relationships are the subject that relate all of the stories that Father G presents in this newest book. Think about this… how many people in your everyday life connect to? Share a moment with? We are so accustomed to living our lives in a protective, personal-space bubble that we are scared to truly interact with people we don’t know. If there is no connection with others, how are we to truly know about them? … And then we go ahead and make assumptions about everyone around us – most of the time, they are completely wrong and negative assumptions. Doesn’t make sense at all. If you are to make a simple statement about a person or a group of people, I dare you to spend time with them and get to know them first before saying anything that you might regret. Based on my past experiences, I can almost bet that you will find yourself changing your mind. Try it.

Thanks to ITS at LMU, the full talk was recorded and you can enjoy it here! My favorite story is minutes 30:00 to 40:45, Gabriel’s story.

An Evening With Father Greg Boyle


Have you ever been at a loss for words when it comes to something that you are passionate about? The feeling is so overwhelming that you just can’t find the exact words to describe it? Well, if you have, that is where I am at when trying to describe my summer so far… There is no words to really describe how it is working as a Youth Squad Supervisor for Summer Night Lights – unless you experience it yourself, of course.

The morning of July 7th, I had no idea how the summer was going to be like. However, I did know that it was going to be challenging to me and help me grow – through what experiences though, I would have never imagined. I have stressed over big problems involving the safety of the community to small ones such as running out of buns for the night; all in all, I learned from the obstacles I was faced with each night. Now, with a week left of the program, I can honestly say that I am very sad to know that I only have a little while longer at the park. In my last post, I had tons of energy promising that I was going to post and keep my blog updated of SNL events and happenings. Little did I know that I wasn’t going to have time or energy to post about it, so for that, I apologize. Another thing that also hindered my posting was that my camera was stolen from the park. Lucky me right? But that is only a minor setback in blogging about my summer. I wish that there were more pictures to document my summer but here are a few.

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Summer Night Lights was a great experience for me. It has definitely entered into my heart as Homeboy Industries has… ::Quick Sidestory: The most recent winner of Last Comic Standing, Felipe Esparza comes from Boyle Heights and is associated with Homeboy Inds. Word up! Congratulations to him!:: … I am definitely proud to be a part it and continue on with the work that I love doing.

P.S. Anyone know of a job opening? I’m now unemployed again😐


Hi all! I am very pleased, proud, happy, and excited to announce that tonight Summer Night Lights officially starts! Woo! All over the Los Angeles county, there will be 24 parks that will stay open until midnight tonight serving free food, free games, activities for the family. To reiterate the mission and goal of SNL: it is to provide alternative activities [and free food] to kids who would otherwise be up to no good during the restless summer nights. Of course this does not limit who can go and enjoy the music, food and games that we will be having at the park; many families will come and enjoy all the activities as much as the next person.

I will be no doubt documenting the entire summer via pictures, video and my blog. You ready? I know that I sure am!



Don’t have any plans for Friday night yet? Come out to the Palm Court Ballroom at the Alexandria Hotel for benefit concert supporting Homeboy Industries! In a post I did back in May,https://mercc.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/homeboylayoffs/– I wrote about how Homeboy was hit hard during these economic hardships and had to layoff 300+ staff members. This benefit concert solely supports Homeboy Inds. in order to keep their doors open to do what they do best – keep inspiring the communities of Los Angeles.

Tickets are $10 pre-sale and $15 at the door to enjoy the great music of Quinto Sol. The show runs from 9 pm to 2 am. For any more information about the concert this Saturday call: 213.622.3105

>> EDIT:

Unfortunately, I have just found out tonight that this concert is cancelled :[ I hope that it isn’t definite and that they will re-schedule something soon.  Please feel free to donate still if you haven’t yet; again, the link to donate:  http://www.homeboy-industries.org/donate.php. There is no minimum or limit for donations, so whatever you have to spare please feel free to send it over to a good cause!

>> EDIT: No.2

Fortunately, the show is back and running! Mark your calendars for Friday, July 23rd!! Make sure not to miss this great show – especially since it’s their second time putting it together!