Posts Tagged ‘Summer Night Lights Program’

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.

[[Mercc]]

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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 😐

[[Mercc]]

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!

LET'S GO TEAM!

[[Mercc]]