I love working at Hillsides.
Honestly when I can remember when I had my interview with Lupe and literally feeling like this is where I needed to be and now that I'm there, I'm right. Being there is like a CRAZY mirror to myself. Working with my teens really makes me look at where I was at their age and try to really understand where they're coming from on top of all they're going through and experiencing.
My first couple of days there I already could tell a lot and it made it easy for me to jump into the groove of things. Understanding more about how things work and not instantly trying to change things. It's also super comforting knowing that everyone who's there REALLY loves what they do. I want to help them do more but I don't know how. I'm trying to learn to let that come to me and focus on all of the teens I'm working with one at a time. I'm also trying to not go into this mentality of trying to save my kids. I know that's not my job and I'm trying to just be someone to listen and remind them of how great they are and how much they are able to do.
There's one particular kid named Daniel. I lowkey wanna say he's one of my favorites but I really think it's because he reminds me of me A LOT. I know he has a super rough background but this kid has a lot of potential. Ever since I've gotten to Hillsides we've related on a lot of different topics and he's an artist that's super talented. Right now I'm working with him so that he can understand the importance of school and staying out of trouble. I know he understands for the most part but I want for him to show me he understands. That's one of the major parts we relate. I say “okay, I get it” a lot but I have a tendency to not show it. I'm teaching him about being more responsible and reliable in his work so that he can do more. Like doing all his class work, participating, doing homework etc. I want all the best for him but I'm learning to be patient and be open to know that he will grow at his own pace and may understand what I'm saying long after I'm gone.
I'm working on a contract for him that if he can complete all his work, and continue to get great grades and a point sheet no lower than 45/60, that next semester I can work to have him have lunch with some who illustrates or has their own fashion line. I want him to see that a future for him beyond what he's seeing everyday is real.
Overall, these kids are making me want to do better and take my own advice. I want to be a living example of the things I'm telling them to do.
Voices of Service
These are reflections from corps members and alumni of Jubilee Year and the Episcopal Urban Intern Program. They cover topics ranging from the sun, fun and friends in in Los Angeles to the uncensored experiences of serving vulnerable populations in our beautiful city. These are Voices of Service. For more, go through our archives below