Can You Love Someone Despite Their Decisions/Choices I think it depends on who you ask. Based on our society and community day with “cancel culture” the answer is “No”. If someone doesn’t agree with you push them away, you spew hate, you do everything but love them. But, where does this lead and take us? It brings us to a more divided and separated group of people.  I believe you can love someone despite their decisions. I mean look at your parents. How many times have you done something and despite that they came and loved you through it? The best example is Daryl Davis. For those who don’t know him, Daryl is an African-American man who friends a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, Robert White.  Despite their differences, they actually become best friends and Robert stepped down from the Ku Klux Klan. If you haven’t seen the TED Talk I highly recommend watching it.  The hardest part of loving and caring for someone despite their decisions is putting your values onto them. How many tim

The Power of Example - Teaching Children to Lead

The Power of Example - Teaching Children to Lead Children are our future. It’s cliched and maybe even a little cheesy, but it’s also undeniably true. We have to set the youth of today up for success so that they can become the leaders of tomorrow. One of the simplest and most effective ways to teach kids how to become leaders is by setting a good example. Just Us 4 Youth ’s mentoring program is based, in part, on the idea that when children can see adults thrive, they can learn to thrive, too. Here are some ways you can lead by example and help make the future brighter and more confident:  Value Education  Children, at-promise* kids especially, need to see the value of learning.  Talk with your kids or mentees about how you’ve used what you learned in high school and beyond.  Demonstrate the power of continuous learning .  Consider returning to pursue a higher education.  Make time for reading , encourage it in kids, and talk with them about books.  Display Commitment  Kids need to se

My Teaching Journey

My teaching journey began in September of 2005, months after I received my B.A. in Spanish from Cal Poly. I first started working as a substitute teacher for three different districts, Chaffey, Upland and Pomona districts.  A year after, and thanks to a friend that I had at that time, I received a great opportunity to work as a full time teacher at Chino High School while I was still working on my teaching credential. In the two years that I was at CHS I learned the overwhelming challenges that a first year teacher goes through. These tough experiences should be used, in my opinion, by educators as an impulse to become better professionals. Two years later, my teaching career took a different route as I began to work for Pomona Unified. My first teaching assignment was at Ganesha High. With two years of teaching experience I was confident that I was better prepared to cope with the challenges of being a teacher at a new school. However, I was totally wrong. Through the middle of the sc

Lonely Waters

Loneliness despoils apartment complexes, trailer parks, small homes, garages and parks across the inner city. She runs through the brains and bodies of our youth like a tsunami bursting onto the shores of our neighborhoods, affecting the physical and mental well-being of our children.  Our youth are particularly vulnerable to the damage that she brings. Her waters incite the rise of growing incidence of depression, substance abuse, and suicide, and she washes away from them the securing supports of those who love and care for them normally.  Her waters swirl children into an empty section of the soul where disconnection reigns, and youth are tossed by her waves, worsening anxieties, mood disorders, and cognitive decline. And she drifts youth far from the shore of learning, blocking their access to the liberating truths that guide them into destiny. With her constant roar, their attempts to wade fail and fatigue sets in. The light fades and social media is the undertow faci

Making A Change For The Better

I never expected for my life to turn out like this, my mother has never been there for me. She has never loved me, but her other kids have always been more important than I was to her. I was 3 when she decided to leave my life and leave my dad with a huge responsibility. My father has no family to turn to, he has no one, but he still raised me to the best of his ability, although he comes up short often.  It was hard growing up without a mother. When my father enrolled me in soccer when I was younger I was excited because I was actually good at it. I enjoyed playing it. When I was younger my heart crashed because I would look at other boys bringing their mom and dad but I had no one. My father is an older man and he’s always working. I hate it because he just never had the time for me.  When I was in second grade I was excited because my school gave me a letter saying I was getting an award for mathematics. That day I couldn’t wait to go home and tell my dad. I ran home and sh

Not Always Easy

Hi…My life has been full of so many difficult moments and here is one that I would like to share with you. I will be talking about how my life went from down path to high path.  My family and I have struggled so much in life. Being 3 years old and coming to the United States alone was definitely one of the most difficult and risky things you can ever do. Having no money, no family or anyone to rely on is very hard. Not knowing if your parents are protected or just in general if they are going to come back with you with their lives. When all that was over I thought my family and I were finally going to be together and happy, but I was wrong. Money problems started, my parents started having relational problems and I was going through a tough time individually. At the time all that started to happen my dad left back to Mexico and was gone for a while. My mom got into depression and things in the house started to change. I got pushed away and was barely talked to. Then my dad ca

Don't Take It Personal

Urban youth work is an honor to be a part of, but it comes with it’s challenges. It's often thankless, and the fruit of your investment doesn’t show until years later. It’s not financially rewarding as people think (for many years I’ve been flat broke lol), nor is it glamorous, especially when you are dealing with age old urban issues that lead to death, violence, addiction, and more. Recently as a 19 year vet of urban work, I have been faced with a particular challenge that hasn’t been easy for me to swallow. That challenge is being blamed for things or being accused of things when it has absolutely nothing to do with me, or when the accusations are the furthest from the truth. I’ve put some thought to this and felt the need to write to encourage youth workers around the world.  When facing this challenge it will make you want to quit, tuck tail and run. Being blamed for something creates resentment, anger and frustration and it will cause you to do things that