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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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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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QUORA EPPS

Youth Peer Advocate

The most valuable life lesson I’ve learned so far is: don’t judge a book by its cover. You don’t know people and you don’t know their story. Be kind to everyone.

If I had unlimited funding, I would create a program for at-risk youth who want to learn life skills to be successful and I would guide them into transitional housing. Once they get a steady income and are solid in their foundation, I would move them into apartments, also run by me, where they would pay 30% of their income for 2 years then after they had a chance to save they would be responsible for full rent. They also wouldn’t be forced to move out.

 

IESHA MCKINNEY

Youth Peer Advocate

My most valuable life lesson is to never give up. I lost my birth mom when I was 14 years old. I learned that I could not avoid the experience that I was having. I had to let myself feel what I was feeling, so it would not become bottled up inside. It is important to deal with your problems in order to figure out a way to move forward. No matter how hard life gets, never give up.

If I had unlimited funding, I would create a creative expressions program. Having an outlet is very important, especially when you don’t know how to put what you’re feeling into words. That is why a creative expressions program would be great. It will give people the opportunity to express themselves in other ways like visual art, dance, poetry, spoken word, acting, and more.

 
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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.

 
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MEGHAN SCHUTTLER

Program Manager

The most valuable life lesson I’ve learned so far is that the most important thing you can be in this life is kind and to fight for what you believe in because your voice is important.

If I had unlimited funding, I would create a space for creative expression and healing. I would love a community-led space that has workshops, classes, studio and performance space for people to explore their creativity and heal within their own communities.

 
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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.