Jie

Youth Facilitator

“One mentor away from feeling alone, a mentor away from being understood…

I went through the lack of consistent role models/mentors that I could confide in and truly inspire me to be better. It took quite a lot of confidence, courage, and a belief system for me to discover what I was lacking and the root of it all. From constant conflicts in my home to the unknown of how to navigate social settings like school & my community, it made my life a lot more difficult than the average kid, where poor decisions were made on who I affiliated with and how I handled my emotional & mental health. Everything I felt I kept close to the chest because of my lack of trust in others and what I was exposed to from my environments. It wasn’t the best coping strategy but to me it felt like the safest at the time. To protect myself, I wore a false plastic smile and kept my opinions to myself, another strategy I felt was safe, but really wasn’t. To me, it was a never-ending battle, I can’t remember a time when my guard was truly down, I couldn’t afford that luxury. Living in marginalized communities all my life, being a product of it seemed like the only option available. Violence was common, negative affiliation was the goal, doing the right thing was wrong. I couldn’t help but think, “if only there was someone to show me the way, someone to guide and understand me”. Presently, I am working on being that very mentor/role model that I was seeking so long ago. One who understands, one who empathizes, one who is trusted, one who can advise, one who motivates, one who inspires, one who is simply present & consistent! Through working with youth in marginalized communities, building relationships & connections is something I take great pride & joy in! My goal is to show them that they can be more than just a product of their environment, giving them more credit than they give themselves!”