I would not be where I am today if not for Huckleberry. The leadership skills I’ve gained and the relationships I’ve made through Huckleberry have had a huge impact on my life.
My life before Huckleberry was a downward spiral. I was constantly fighting with my mother and getting into trouble in and out of school. My grades were not the only thing slipping. I felt like I was losing control of my life. I decided I had to make some drastic changes before I made bad decisions I couldn’t fix.
I made a move that saved my life; I began to see a Huckleberry therapist. It didn’t take long for me to open up to my therapist and see improvements. My therapist suggested I consider joining a girls’ group offered at Huckleberry. The group helped me build my self-esteem by placing me in leadership roles. Huckleberry helped me shut the door to the negative aspects of my life and encouraged me to find what I was passionate about.
The work that Huckleberry staff did with our group motivated me to give back to my community. After completing the program, I participated in an intensive health education internship with Huckleberry. I officially became a part of the Huckleberry team, and while I worked at the clinic, I co-facilitated groups helping young women in situations like mine.
I truly felt like a leader when I got to plan group, write curriculum, and handle paperwork. I felt responsible in the position I had, and equal to the adult staff. I even got special recognition from SF Mayor Gavin Newsom on the work we did in the Western Addition neighborhood. I still keep in contact with some of the girls and I am happy to see that they have turned their lives around.
During my college years, I became an unofficial health educator in my dorm. My friends knew that I worked at a clinic and constantly asked me for advice, including on contraceptives. Word spread fast that I was the go-to girl for health questions and all of a sudden it seemed like I was giving workshops in the dorm.
Considering my past, I am amazed at the woman and scholar I’ve become. Although I went away to college, I never felt like I left Huckleberry. What I received there has always been with me. As I start a new chapter of my life, I still believe in what Huckleberry does, and I know that they change the lives of many young people, just like me.