TAYSF CTAB (City-wide TAY Advisory Board) 2015-16
TAYSF’s approach to youth and young adult engagement is driven by the mantra of “no choice about us, without us.” TAYSF seeks to bring those who are typically invisible in the system to the decision-making tables in order to advocate for policy changes.
The TAYSF Citywide TAY Advisory Board engages youth and young adults, ages 16-25 who, from personal and professional experiences, represent the disconnected transitional age youth (TAY) population represent San Francisco’s most vulnerable transitional age youth—those who are disconnected from education, employment and social support systems.
TAYSF CTAB (City-wide TAY Advisory Board Members) 2014-2015 :
Jesus is the name and he was born and raised here in the beautiful city of San Francisco, CA. Growing up in the city has been both a great experience and also an obstacle to endure. San Francisco is the place where Jesus experienced difficult situations, but also where he learned most of his life lessons. He was once a truant youth who struggled in school and went through the Center of Academic Re-entry and Empowerment (CARE) Program which is a truancy program in a form of a school. There he graduated and transitioned into getting a GED. Years later, Jesus is back paving it forward and giving back to the Bayview community and youth from all over San Francisco. He helps youth get back in to school, mentors them and offers other TAY services such as: job search, resume building, life skills workshops, case management, tutoring, and plenty of wrap around services that youth from the low income communities need. Jesus brings a lot to the Advisory Board. One of his favorite qualities is that he is always open minded to new challenges or ideologies. He is always interested in learning, and this quality has helped him to build relationships with others from different backgrounds and put my own beliefs and thoughts aside for a bigger cause. A contribution to the board Jesus could bring would be his skills, knowledge and ideas that will help the team. If there is an event coming up, he can let my youth know ahead of time, and have them show support. Jesus is a team player which is benefit to any team because he is always willing to go above and beyond for my team.
Monica Flores, 21
Monica was born and raised in the San Francisco Mission District. Her passion to create positive change for youth and families stems from being raised by strong community based programming. Her intro to advocacy work as the Young Mother’s United Youth Organizer with the Center for Young Women’s Development was fighting for the rights of young parents and young women with multiple system involvement. From there she was trained in federal, state and local policy with the Community Justice Network for Youth, Latinas Empowered for Action, the former Rebecca Project for Human Rights, the Women’s Policy Institute, Transitional Age Youth San Francisco and the San Francisco Youth Commission. As a high school student balancing schoolwork, motherhood, and multiple part-time jobs; she knew firsthand the barriers that exist both for young people struggling to survive and for parents trying to raise a healthy family in an ever-changing urban environment. Through personal experience she knows the importance of youth leadership development and the need to look at the bigger picture to see the countless opportunities that exist for youth in which they will excel when given the chance and proper support. Since 2010 she has transitioned from a program participant, to a program assistant, coordinator, advocate and has currently been at the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families for over a year.
My fellowship at TAYSF introduced me to city government and reignited my passion for policy work while enhancing my understanding of the real power that community organizing and advocacy work have. While serving as a TAY Advocate Fellow I was able to use my life story to advocate for the needs of disconnected TAY while gaining the knowledge and experience to pursue my career goals in urban planning and philanthropy.
Luisa Sicairos has spent her 23 years of life in San Francisco’s SOMA community where she has constantly advocated for social justice. She has also recently graduated from San Francisco State University earning her BA in Sociology with a minor in Communications. Luisa is passionate on numerous issues such as Women Empowerment, Health, Education, and Equality for Youth and Adults with disabilities. She has been socially active in her community since her high school days starting off with after school programs such as Oasis for Girls and the YMCA. Her advocating became more prominent once she joined a tobacco prevention group with the Youth Leadership Institute in which she has transitioned from many roles in the past 8+ years leading her to her current position as a Board Member. Luisa has expanded her knowledge of community work to Policy and Government with the San Francisco Youth Commission last year. Now, you will find Luisa tackling on financial predatory services and products with My Path as a Program Associate for youth in the Mission District.
Living life as a nomad, moving from town to town in search of resources and opportunity, Nikia Durgin’s dedication to community was influenced by the harsh realities of poverty and homelessness her family endured throughout her childhood. Growing up in the South Bay and Peninsula, Nikia found her community in San Francisco’s Mission District. With her father’s life lost to gun violence at an early age, living in a household damaged by substance abuse, it was up to Nikia to find her way; And that truly became clear with the birth of her son, Matthew. She graduated top of her class from Hilltop High School, where her counselors and teachers nurtured the hope she had for her future and her passion to better her people and communities of color. She was given her first taste of youth work at Horizons Unlimited of San Francisco, where she currently holds the position of MYEEP Program Coordinator. Nikia is working in her third year as a CTAB board member, providing a voice and advocate for young mothers, young families, youth involved in the injustice system and transitional aged youth of color. Her current goal is to focus on connecting more Bay Area youth to workforce development resources within San Francisco
Eddie Bajet was born in San Diego, California to a mother of Mexican descent and a father of Filipino descent. Eddie grew up learning about both worlds and is proud of his heritage. After living there for his whole life, Eddie moved to San Francisco in 2009 to attend San Francisco State University to pursue a Bachelors degree in Psychology. After graduating in fall 2012, Eddie then began working in the community for the San Francisco YMCA, first working as a Program leader for two years. Eddie started graduate school in fall of 2013 to pursue a Masters degree in counseling at Palo Alto University.
Eddie participated in a research training project with the Palo Alto VA developing an online training for veterans for PTSD. During this time Eddie learned various therapeutic skills working with therapists across the country learning from their own approaches. In 2015, Eddie became a Student Advocate at the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA where he still works today. Eddie works with at risk youth graduate from high school while also providing case management services, providing them with the necessary resources to help them stay in school and be successful once they graduate. This summer Eddie will graduate with a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology. His dream is to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology and work as a mental health professional in the military as well as law enforcement in the future.
Jess Rodriguez Williams
Having graduated high school homeless, it took her over a year to figure out the community college application and financial aid process. Jess quickly learned that in order to survive in this world with little support she would have to find community by herself. Jess joined a feminist group at Riverside City College, full of queer people of color, like herself. People who understood the parallels of being a first generation high school graduate and city college attendee. With this group Jess worked to decolonize her mind and was empowered to understand why so few, low income, queer people of color make it to higher institutional learning.
Jess earned her AAT degree in Sociology after six years of attending Riverside Community College. Jess decided to continue her education at San Francisco State University and hopes to pursue a PhD in Sociology in the near future. Jess continues to work diligently as a radical activist with emphasis on queer people of feminism, where decolonization of the mind and empowerment of marginalized communities are areas of interest.
The TAYSF Citywide TAY Advisory Board is convened by our two TAY Advocate Fellows.