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DANESHA BISHOP

Youth Peer Advocate

I believe that the most valuable lesson I have learned is that life is what you make it.

If I had unlimited funding at my fingertips, I would buy a whole bunch of property in or around the San Francisco Area. I would use this property to create income-based housing. I would like to have multiple apartment buildings with free childcare to residents, a business center to host job fairs for the residents without jobs, and an education center for residents who do not have their high school diploma/GED or would like to seek higher education. I would also like to open a bunch of community centers that would offer legal services to undocumented people, after school programs for middle and high schoolers, and scholarships for students. I would also buy a big house in San Francisco and open up a group home for juveniles.

 
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YOSEPH BUTLER

Youth Peer Advocate

The most valuable lesson that I've learned is that self-motivation and determination are keys to success. You have to believe in yourself and know for a fact that you can achieve any goal you want, without always having to rely on others to do it for you! Your mind is your greatest tool and you have to use it, or you'll lose it.

If there was unlimited funding, I would use it to help save for a house as well as pay for school expenses, eventually working up to owning a series of apartments completely so my family will never go homeless, as well as having more available housing for people with low incomes and the homeless.



 
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MARISSA HAWKINS

Program Manager

The most valuable life lesson(s) I have learned so far is that although change can be scary it can be the gateway to new opportunities, so it’s better to embrace change with an open mind and an open heart.  Also, nothing or no one is permanent so make sure to foster and appreciate the support and things you have in the moment.

If there was unlimited funding, I would create something to support single moms either with subsidized child care, a program offering extra supportive services with special incentives such as, scholarships for those going to school and first time home buying support.


 
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ERICA HICKEY

Youth Peer Advocate / Data Manager

One important thing that I’ve learned is that no matter what life throws at you, the way that you react to it shows your true character, and your true character should always shine through every decision you make.

If I had an unlimited amount of funding at my fingertips I would find housing for school for young people especially the ones going to college. I would finally buy county property and turn it into a youth center in my county. I would create a scholarship fund for young people to live out there one life dream once they have successfully completed vacation all training certificate program or college. I’d sponsor positions for young people to work with local officials to understand their communities better the needs of their communities and get a better idea of what they’d like to do in the future If it were to local.

 
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TARA LEDEZMA

Director of Youth Services, VOICES Napa & SPARK Initiative

The most valuable life lesson I have learned so far is to never give up! There will always be bumps in the road but you have to pick yourself up and move on. My definition of “happiness” is to be loved and to spread love and joy.

If I had unlimited funding, I would create housing opportunities and legal services for all young people that needed guidance.


 
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BONNIE PITTOCK

Youth Peer Advocate

One of the most valuable life lessons that I have learned is that no matter where life takes you, make the best of it. We all have circumstances that throw us for a loop, but it’s all about how you bounce back. Tomorrow is never promised and I try to live each day to the fullest, whether it be personal or professional.

If I had unlimited funding I would make housing available for all youth in-need. Resources would never be limited and all in-need would receive help. Housing is a necessity and a basic need for all, without it you cannot thrive in life.

 
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ANTONIO PIZANO

Youth Peer Advocate

One of the most valuable things I've learned in my life is, a lot of times we get so focused on our big dreams and goals, that we forget to enjoy this journey called life. Always remember that life is all about this moment. Life is all about the journey and less about the destination. So take a deep cleansing breath and allow yourself to be present in everything you do. Allow yourself to enjoy each second of your life – to observe the world around you, the people present in your life and the beauty that is present within and all around you…

If I had unlimited funding at my fingertips I would create multiple programs and centers that assist youth, ages 14-26, in multiple areas such as a housing program where youth can get their own 1 bedroom apartment in a complex owned by myself. I would also have a workshop area in the lobby where workshops would be held for employment and education benefit. There would also be Case Managers to assist the youth with any needs or concerns they have.



 
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SEMA’J WYATT

SPARK Program Coordinator

In my life I have learned many things. The one lesson that had the largest impact on me and my success was the importance of relationships and networking. It is often not what you know, but who you know, that will opens doors. Be wise to value each relationship and treat all the way you want to be treated.

With unlimited funding, I would reconstruct and prioritize early childhood development and education. Starting with a national raise for our educators, but also the education we offer those that are parenting. I believe to change this cycle would have a ripple effect in how the youth grow and learn as well as how the parents are able to interact.