Being a Resource Assistant threw me in a new place I would have never thought to live. I’ve met some amazing people both personally and while professionally networking. I’ve assisted in carrying out some amazing programs, and helped plan out some exciting new programs that are going to be implemented this year and next.
I fell in love with the work that I'm doing and I'm extremely dedicated to my mission. I’ve been having ongoing conversations with my supervisors and my coworkers and despite the fact that my last day as a Resource Assistant is March 19th, I’ll still be coming to work on the following Monday. I can't imagine grinding things to a halt with the amount of momentum I’ve gained in the community while working with GARNA. The amount of upcoming programs we have planned as well as the community goals I've set for myself are definitely something I would have never been able to even put on my radar had I not left my comfort zone.
I feel like I'm finally gaining a level of trust and familiarity with the students I've been working with. I’ve been setting myself up to do educational programs and career outreach with highschoolers, and I'm finally gaining traction on dual language programming and reaching out to the Latinx community. A large part of my position has felt like planning, organizing and preparing, and I'm chomping at the bit to finally be able to put these ideas into practice.
This last year has really thrown me for quite a loop. I’ve lived in four states since the start of the pandemic. I’ve moved further away from home than I’ve ever been. That being said; my stay in Colorado has been the longest time I’ve spent in one place since graduating college. And while I’m not exactly planning on planting roots anytime soon, it's a welcoming change from the instability that I’ve thrived on in the last few years. I finally have an apartment that feels whole and welcoming as opposed to a room I need to be ready to pack up at the drop of a hat for a work relocation. I have a sense of familiarity with the town around me, which as wild as it sounds, is something I have not felt in a long time. I bought myself a car, which has been a goal I kept having to move back for at least 6 years.
Reflecting back, not only on these last six months but the last couple of years as a whole, makes me realize that even though I haven't ‘made it’ by traditional terms, I'm well on my way. I’m happy. I'm fulfilled. I’m constantly pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone and growing. I’m in love with what I studied and continue to learn about. I’m driven by the work that I do. I know I want to go back to school and I'm slowly narrowing down what I want to concentrate on. I’ve maintained my individuality as a person and I think I inspire others, especially students who see themselves in me as a Queer/Black/Indigenous Latina. I grew up to be an adult that teenage me would look up to and I’m so so proud of all the work that I’ve put in to make that happen.
Agency: U.S Forest Service
Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)
Location: Salida Ranger District