I am Seattle through and through. In 1998, I started working with kids at a community center in the neighborhood where I grew up. I instantly fell in love with the program and all we were doing. Co-creating stories with students and figuring out interesting ways to help them express themselves, was a huge part of kick-starting my career in afterschool. It was through these experiences and relationships that I transformed in ways I never could have imagined. I took a leap of faith and left my roots to join LA’s BEST as the Director of Staff Development in 2015 and now serve as Director of Program Development. It was a big decision for my family to move across state lines and I have not regretted it one second!
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing how transformative it is for LA’s BEST staff to build connections and experiences with students. I enjoy seeing them engaging and facilitating activities that expand the horizons of students and themselves. It brings me joy to witness staff members gain confidence in their ability to lead and be role models for the kids. Their transformation into confident leaders reminds me of my own transformation, which brings me a greater sense of purpose.
During the school closures, it was profound to see the resilience of our coaches as they adapted to the new virtual engagement model. LA’s BEST staff had to reframe and reimagine the way they thought about engaging with their students. I am honored that I get to serve alongside them and be a part of their growth, for we’ve learned together that we can still connect with the students in meaningful ways. It helps all of us combat social isolation.
I am proud to lead the Program Development team that works hard to ensure all staff have the opportunities they need for their professional growth. I remember calling my brother to tell him there was a dream job, but it was in Los Angeles. Six years later, I’m still in LA working with staff who are making a direct impact on their communities and serving as role models for youth. I am grateful that I get to help uplift the voices of people who are shaping the future leaders of Los Angeles.
Check out Zach’s blog, Are You Listening? Leading with Care posted in Boost Cafe. https://boostcafe.org/listening-leading-care/