February 6, 14 ·
People stop, with prejudice, looking for the “MONSTER” in peoples’ actions, habits, behaviors, and situations. We are not accountable for other peoples’ actions right? Well what about when a person is placed in a “fight or flight,” or in simpler terms “act or run,” situation. Today there are individuals who are placed in situations that influence their decision making process, from others. Meaning we set people up for “failure” and think we are doing a service to others because we have shown exposed the “MONSTER”. Example: You are trying to get your parent’s attention and your say their name repeatedly. Gradually your voice goes up within your repetition of that person’s name. At the moment a “MONSTER” comes out because the individual screams WHAT! Now with that aggression, discomfort is then influenced and a “negative” experience has been created. Because there is a “negative” denotation to “MONSTER” it seems that more people will hunt for a “MONSTER” then a graceful truth. A graceful truth is seeing things for what they could be and trying to be completely trust worthy and open to any and all situations, a hard concept to imagine, without any attachment of one’s identity and acknowledge that it’s purpose will be reveal and it may or may not be for me to witness the truth because it is not for me. Now of course, this is my mind running thoughts and potential influencing conversation and/or thoughts from exterior sources in which may serve a purpose on my timeline. Another thought: I feel that within our society today there are many who are suppressed and are looking for a way to fit into a box. That box isn’t general nor is this box explainable. The box is a vote in democracy, the trending now, the keeping up with the gates, the he say she say. And then on the other hand are we trying to be one box inside another box that continues forever with other little boxes? I have no answers just thoughts don’t we all. I am never right and I am never wrong when it comes to my independent, without outside influences, brain. But when you are born and become a developing person your actions are no longer yours they are influence and persuaded by the world.
December 25, 13 ·
People often think that being a crisis counselor is depressing. They ask me why I do it for a living, and I know that our volunteers frequently get asked why THEY spend their free time as crisis counselors. So I went straight to the source and asked some of our counselors to tell me what they love about being a crisis counselor. Here are their answers:
- that volunteering as a crisis counselor turns the cliche phrase “I like to help people” from words into action.
- when a caller shares something with me that they’ve never been able to talk about with anyone else.
- when someone calls us crying but ends the conversation laughing or giggling.
- being reminded of how resilient people are, no matter what crisis they have faced or are currently facing.
- hearing a caller say thank you! Or hearing them tell say that the crisis line is amazing!
- hearing stories from youth that are in a place in their life that I was once in. They talk about emotions and problems that I once had, and I’m able to give them a safe place to express themselves and work through the situation. I love the feeling of knowing that I helped someone figure out something that was once difficult for.
- knowing that a caller will eventually be okay. It’s a priceless feeling.
- being able to listen to someone who wouldn’t otherwise have anyone to talk to.
- that moment in a call when I can tell things are more relaxed – the caller has decided how they want to handle their situation. They have also realized that they are a lot stronger and more empowered than they thought. It’s magical.
- that moment when you tell the caller that they aren’t alone – that there are others who have struggled with a similar situation – and that help is available. It’s the moment when they realize there is hope.
I wanted to add a few things to the list, too. Here are my personal additions:
- that neither the caller nor I can judge each other based on looks. It doesn’t matter what our skin color, height, weight, etc looks like.
- when a caller says they are calling us because they called us before and we were able to help them.
- how brave our callers are. So many people think that the counselors are the brave ones because we listen to the difficult calls. But the callers are just as brave (sometimes braver) because they often call not knowing what to expect.
- our volunteers. Yes, one of the best things about being a crisis counselor is meeting and working with all the other crisis counselors. There is something magical about the group of people we have here – we may all look very different on the outside or we may all have different hobbies outside of the call center – but all of us have something similar deep down. We all have a deep desire to love, support, and help our callers. And because of the work we do here, it does not matter how different we are outside of the call center – in the end we are all family. <3
December 24, 13 ·
When you have a tradition in your life that gets interrupted with envy and destruction within the majority stakeholder of the tradition, it leaves a scar on your heart and a everlasting open wound. Till this day, holidays have been events that have opened scabs from my heart that create an uneasy type of feeling. Trying to mask over the emotions are always an option but the bigger picture is healing being an option towards creating something for one’s self. This has been my last 10 years, plus, of my life and it is always painful.
Holidays used to be fun when I was a kid because we had tradition, until life and individuals detached. When that tradition left my life a piece of me went into hiding. I locked that child in a box to never enjoy the child-like state of holidays. Leaving me with a need to just want to get closer and have intimacy within my holidays.
During the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas in particular, I was placed in situations of homelessness. I have seen the beauty in which many want to give to those who have “nothing” or “very little,” through the group home and shelter that I lived in. Did this present the opportunity for me to heal? Yes. But this wound was one which remains hidden and never tapped into, no matter how many therapy sessions I had.
I am resistant to tradition, because it was taken from me, like my mother from birth. I live to adapt and the holidays present me with the option to do just that. This holiday season I want to be alone, and at the end of the day it is my decision to do so. This isn’t written to ask for assistance, this is an opportunity for someone who may feel the way I feel, to finally acknowledge their potential feeling and decide if they are really to bandage those wounds because I can tell you now, I’m not ready SO DON’T PUSH ME and DON’T PUSH THE SUBJECT – and if you do thank you, but be aware and don’t attach yourself to the word because when you put them out into the world it is then left up to the interpretation of the receiver.
This is MY WEAKNESS, MY JOURNEY, and MY WOUND – all of which make me whole in case you didn’t know until now. Thank you and HAPPY HOLIDAYS. Enjoy your moments.
, Youth Voices
August 23, 13 ·
The first official blog that I wrote for CCY is titled “Growing.” I have to say that I nailed that one! Looking back it amazes me how much I’ve grown with CCY and how much I’ve seen the organization grow and evolve over the last 3 years. I have been given amazing development opportunities, by people who believe in me and my abilities, to hone my strengths and really figure out where my passions reside. What I’ve found is that working directly with young people is definitely what lights me up! As mentors, we are constantly telling our young people to “follow your passions,” so, in the spirit of practicing what I preach, I am following mine, and have accepted a position with the CA Youth Empowerment Network as their TAY Program Coordinator, where my primary role will be working directly with young people who serve on a statewide TAY advisory board.
My journey here has been reciprocal; while I’ve given a lot to CCY, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the amazing people I’ve had a chance to work with, learn from and grow with on this journey! And although this was not an easy decision -bittersweet in many ways – it feels like the right time and for the right reasons. I am excited for the future – both mine and CCY’s. The California Coalition for Youth has proven to me – through the organizational changes that have taken place during my tenure – that we are resilient, adaptable, innovative and supported by a network of amazing folks that genuinely believe in our young people and what we do! In knowing this, I find comfort and inspiration and I wish the California Coalition for Youth – staff and former staff, board members, youth advisory board members, coalition members, volunteers, interns, affiliates and supporters – nothing but the best!
I remain very connected to and passionate about CCY, our mission, what we stand for and the young people we work with and serve, and I intend to continue my service to CCY in a volunteer capacity as well as becoming an individual member of the coalition (Desiree, bill me, I promise I’ll pay).
My last official day will be August 30, 2013. Please keep in touch via email at email@example.com and/or my LinkedIn account, I look forward to hearing from you!
, California Coalition for Youth
, Transition-Age Youth
June 7, 13 ·
One of the things that really excited me about coming to work for CCY was the diversity of the membership of the organization and of the youth that we all represent and serve, as noted in our mission to improve and empower the lives of California’s youth. As many of you probably know already, LGBT youth are vastly over-represented among homeless youth, with studies showing that anywhere from 20-40% of all youth who experience homelessness are LGBT. We are working hard with many of our member organizations to reach out and help make sure that all youth are getting the help and resources they need, and there is a lot of focus on special efforts to help our LGBT youth. We have so much more to do, but it certainly helps when we have the support of the leader of our country. That’s why I am so proud to see that once again our President has issued a proclamation acknowledging June as LGBT Pride Month across our country. It’s something that I never thought I would see earlier in my life.
I came out as a young gay man in 1974, only 5 years after the Stonewall Riots in New York City, which started on the evening of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn. It’s the reason we celebrate Pride Month in June all across the country and even around the world. Out of those early days grew a movement that faced up to the ignorance, bigotry and hatred that so many had endured and faced a lot of obstacles to become a cohesive community. I was one of the early activists and still remember marching in protests and fighting against the establishment to demand that we be treated with the same rights and dignity as any other segment of society. Change doesn’t happen overnight, our early successes were few and far between, and for a long time during those early years I never dreamed that one day I would see the President of our country acknowledge the LGBT community and our right for equality across the board, including the right to marry. Here’s just part of what President Obama noted in his new proclamation that was just released:
“This year, we celebrate LGBT Pride Month at a moment of great hope and progress, recognizing that more needs to be done. Support for LGBT equality is growing, led by a generation which understands that, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In the past year, for the first time, voters in multiple States affirmed marriage equality for same-sex couples. State and local governments have taken important steps to provide much-needed protections for transgender Americans.
We have witnessed real and lasting change, but our work is not complete. We have a long way to go, but if we continue on this path together, I am confident that one day soon, from coast to coast, all of our young people will look to the future with the same sense of promise and possibility. I am confident because I have seen the talent, passion, and commitment of LGBT advocates and their allies, and I know that when voices are joined in common purpose, they cannot be stopped.”
That said, we still have a long way to go. 26 states in our country still don’t have any laws protecting the rights of LGBT citizens. But just for now let us all recognize the advancements we have made and take the time to appreciate what we have accomplished, and to honor our President for his support.