1. Name, age, position? My name is Alma Ruznic, I am 17 years young, and I work as a program officer at Communities in Harmony Advocating for Learning and Kids (CHALK). I am also a peer educator for Females Against Violence which is located at Horizons Unlimited.
2. What kind of work do you do?At Chalk, I assist in giving grants up to $10,000 to youth throughout San Francisco who create a project that benefits their community. I interview applicants, work closely with funded projects to help them exceed expectations, and I write proposals for grants to help fundraise for Chalk.
3. What motivates you to do your work? or Why do you love your job? I have been working for Chalk for about a year and a half and it has truly been a life changing experience for me. I’ve matured as a young women and have met some of the most amazing people. I have discovered what my passion is early in life, and that is working with motivated but underprivileged youth. Growing up as a immigrant in a low-income family was a tough experience for me. These were barriers I had to break out of, and it motivates me to continue advocating and working with youth that are considered at-risk, low-income, or anything else that may prevent them from achieving their goals. Lastly, I have seen the impact organizations such as Chalk have on my community and in my peers and I am very proud to be apart of it.
4. Why would you recommend youth to participate in your programs and/or services? I would encourage every youth to become involved with Chalk in one way or another because there is so much they have to offer. I have not only had job for almost two years but I have received help with college applications, scholarship opportunities, and other jobs/internships. It is a unique place in that it really provides support with every aspect of a young person’s life, not just the employment part.
5. What should we expect from you in the future? Hmm…the future…I have not even thought about that but so far my next moves are preparing for college, training other youth to become program officers, and continuing my work with non-profit organizations. For my super long term goal I hope to go back to Bosnia and set up my own non-profit working with youth through the arts.
Source: Alma Ruznic, CHALK, interview, December 17, 2010