In this edition of the Youth Board Spotlight series, we decided to do something different. Instead of only highlighting one current or former Youth Board member, we here at the Youth in Action page wanted to interview two! And who best to interview than… ourselves?
My name is George Chacon, and I have been the administrator of sorts for the Youth in Action page. I have been part of the Youth Board since its inception back in 2007 to 2009. Afterwards, I was the Youth Board co-coordinator with Denise Felix and then later on with Kathleen Gutierrez, the current coordinator. I graduated from UCLA in 2010 with a BA in International Development Studies and a minor in Education Studies. Currently, I’m finishing my second year in Public Allies Los Angeles.
My fellow colleague with the Youth in Action page is Patty Albor. Patty has been helping me with the content: emailing and interviewing our amazing current and former Youth Board members, brainstorming ideas for the page, and reminding me of my duties! She’s been with the Youth Board since 2008 (4 years) and will be starting her fifth year at Fresno State. She’s currently pursuing a degree in Social Work.
George: So, hi Patty!
Patty: Hi George. Ready to get this started?
George: Born ready, hit me with the first question!
Patty: Ok then, what have you been doing after leaving the Youth Board careerwise?
George: So, after the Youth Board (which is also after graduating from UCLA) I was accepted in this Americorps program called Public Allies in Los Angeles. The program was a training program for leaders from the community to learn about the non-profit sector and leadership skills to be highly effecting in the non-profit world. Along with the trainings, I was placed, full-time, at LA Conservation Corps, where I assist young men and women with their resumes and job search. So, Ms. Albor, what made you go into Social Work as your main field of study?
Patricia: I was initially in the Physical Therapy Program but I decided to change my major. Even though in Physical Therapy I would be interacting with people, I wanted to work somewhere where I would be helping people in a different way. I see myself working for social welfare. I am not sure what part of Social Work I want to be a part of but I know I want to be in this field where I will be working for the welfare of the community and its people.
George: Awesome dude.
Patricia: Thanks! So, there are so many organizations out there. What made you want to be part of CSHC?
George: I was involved with this school heath care movement since I was in high school. I remember heading to Sacramento for the Policy Leadership Program where I learned about how our state government works when it comes to passing bills. The bill we high school students were going to advocate and lobby for was to increase the funding and building of new school health centers across the state. During these retreats, I was introduced to CSHC and loved the vision and the people who worked there. My good friend, and current CSHC Youth Board Coordinator, Kathleen Gutierrez, contacted me when she got hired by them to start a Youth Board across California. So, I thought, why not? CSHC is a great organization and has made this issue a really important one for me during high school. So I decided to give some of my time to it as a Youth Board participant, then as a co-coordinator, and now just providing any help I can!
Patricia: Awesome answer!
George: Haha, thanks! So for your next question – What is one, or some, of your greatest memories working for the Youth Board (or CSHC in general) in the time you were with them?
Patricia: It is not necessarily one memory. Besides all the great work that has been done, the most memorable thing has been that the Youth Board and CSHC has offered me a second family. This is something more in the personal level but it is something that I will always be thankful for. When I am doing work with the Youth Board and we just hang out I feel so comfirtable and I know I can be myself with no judgment from anyone. They make me feel so comfortable and have helped me in my personal growth by reminding me why I am a valuable person. I have to say that all those appreciations after our meetings have made such a huge impact in my life!
George: Great answer Patty! I’m pretty amazed right now.
Patricia: So Mr. Chacon, what is some advice you would give to all those youth that are entering this field (public health or related fields)?
George: Oh, that’s a tough question. Let me see… My advice would be to not let society or anyone dictate what you can or cannot do. We live in a world where we ask, sometimes demand, children and youth to know what they should be when they grow up to be adults. As of right now, a college grad and two years of work experience under my belt, I still don’t know what I want to do – but that’s OK. We shouldn’t rush into our careers without exploring what’s out there and understanding who we are. True, there are factors that lead us to decide quickly, we all got bills to pay. But please, do not make that the only factor to get in a field. Do what makes you happy.
Patricia: That is some great advice.
George: Well, you know. Thank you though! So to wrap this up: Patty, what will you take away from your time in the Youth Board – what’s the message that you will take with you in your future?
Patricia: I will take so many memories and great experiences. I have learned that working together is very powerful. We need to fight for what we believe and never let anything put us down. There are so many great people that are willing to help us and there are other people fighting for the same things. Every single person in this work is very important and when I leave I will be confident that I made a difference and everyone else has too!
George: YEE! Great stuff yo! Patty, thank you for working with me with this page. It’s because of you that this work has been so fun for this long!
Patricia: Thank you for allowing me to work with you. It’s been great getting to know more about you and the others! I have to agree with you, this has been fun!
George: And before we go – I want to ask a silly question. Favorite movie seen this year and why?
Patricia: Mmm let me think… meanwhile you can answer that question for me :)!
George: Ugh, sure. haha. It definitely has to be… MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS! Why? Well why not? It has action, comedy, great character development… AND THE HULK!! Come on – who didn’t find this movie to be exciting. Plus, ROBERT DOWNEY JR! That is all. That’s all she wrote. Dropped mic.
Patricia: Mine is Ted!!! lol jk I haven’t watched it lol! I cant remember what movies I have watched besides Men in Black 3! I think Will Smith goes great with comedy and action… And from the non-recent movies I would have to say… mmm, I love comedy movies, I cannot just pick one because I love to laugh! Oh you know what?! When I was a little kid I used to think Kung Pow was so funny! I have no idea why because now I watch it and I wonder what I was laughing at. Haha.
George: Haha! I thought Kung Pow was funny too, back then. Cannot go through it right now. Well it seems that it’s time to end this super awesome chat/interview of ours. It’s been a pleasure, Patty. 😀 Here’s to another year for the CSHC Youth Board!!
Patricia: I feel honored :). Cheers with a cup of water!