Vivian is the College & Career Manager for our AmeriCorps program. Born in Cairo, Egypt (German is actually her first language!), Vivian grew up all over Southern California. She shares a bit about her experience at YPI over the last yer and a half. This is her interview.
Q. Why did you join YPI, and CSI specifically, and what about our organization and the CSI program inspires you?
I joined YPI specifically because I love that the agency was involved in so much, from community development to school-based programming and social-emotional approaches all across. I loved that communities were receiving such targeted care and services. During my time here I’ve been inspired by my AmeriCorps members and their students. I’ve been inspired by my peers and the work and effort each of them puts in daily despite challenges, frustrations, personal life, and for the AmeriCorps members specifically—despite their humble living stipend they show up daily ready to make a difference, ready to support their students, and ready to leave it all at the table.
Q. What personal accomplishment during your time at YPI are you most proud of?
So far, I think I’ve done a good job of collaborating with other programs within CSI and across the agency. I don’t shy away from connecting with other folks to understand the work they do and how we can align to reach a higher amount of participants. Within my first few months I was able to collaborate with YSED to bring Career Club to MCLC & New Village. This year I’ve been collaborating with L&D to be able to bring different lenses of professional development to our AmeriCorps members. Recently, I’ve been collaborating with Stephanie Castellanos to target services at MacArthur Park.
Q. How do you feel you have personally impacted a recipient of CSI programming?
A few of the AmeriCorps members from last year have been hired on with YPI. Of course, that’s a testament to their work and their abilities, but it just makes me really proud to be in a department-wide PD and see them across the room. I see them as my own students who have graduated AmeriCorps and become full-time staff members.
Q. Is there a moment at YPI or participant that stand out in your mind as memorable and why?
Last year’s college signing days at school. I was so happy to be a part of these events. These events are a culmination of all the work and effort of our students and staff and it was powerful to see the excitement in the room. Some schools invited their 9th, 10th and 11th graders to participate in these celebrations and to build their college-going culture among younger students. It’s great to see the school’s being invested in the motivation and success of their students. This was just a moment to recognize the work that was done and a step toward building sustainability.
Q. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I’m a thrill seeker. I love the highest, fastest roller coasters. I went sky diving as soon as I turned 18. I hope to go bungee jumping soon, but I’m waiting for the right place.
Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Coding, software, tech. I’d love to get into that world. I feel like the possibilities are endless. I love that you can create something from nothing.
Q. What is your favorite place in LA that you recommend?
I’m not a huge foodie so I won’t go with a restaurant. But, there’s this spot in Boyle Heights where you can park under the bridge and have the most amazing view of Downtown LA. It’s calming to get away from the rush of people and cars to just decompress. But I won’t tell you exactly where because I don’t want it to get too crowded