First Experience: Leading a workshop

I hope you are all doing good in your first weeks back to campus; I’ve been trying to stay organized and making sure to take care of myself returning to classes and my regular activities. I sometimes forget how easily toxic environments can get on campus and need to work on checking in with myself before I check in with others. This reminded me of Alianza: Youth Leadership Summit I attended this summer. Let me tell y’all about my first time leading a workshop:

Alianza is a youth leadership summit that brings young Latinx leaders and allies from across Washington State together to “network, share ideas, and learn new leadership skills.” This is a space and group created by volunteers and members of the Latino Community Fund (LCF) of Washington State. I found out about this summit through one of my internship peers who works with LCF and with the youth director Oskar Zambrano. In my Internship we focused on mental health and self care within the Latinx Community, she offered me a space to come in and lead a workshop on self care for Latinx youth. This is something I was very interested in because my goal as a community leader is to inspire youth and create/instil vision for bigger successes. Once I signed up to carry out a workshop I knew I needed help from someone who has had this experience and who could help me mold my ideas and thoughts into something real.

Within my internship at UWB I was able to learn about the importance of mentors and connecting with other community leaders. We were all assigned to bring in a community leader to come in and speak to our group, through this I was able to meet an influential womxn; Roxana Garcia. Roxana is a UW alumni and currently works as a Community and Membership Director in South King Council of Human Services. She does way more than what her title describes she fights against inequalities and uses her voice and platforms for change in the Latinx community. She shared her story and I was able to connect with her on many of her stories, I knew she would be the perfect person to help me create something to share with the youth.

Creating a workshop was not as hard as I had imagined just required a lot of brainstorming and planning on how to make it engaging and interactive for folxs. Roxana did an amazing job helping me create a workshop on self care & healing in action. I will forever be thankful for womxn like her who find the value in helping other womxn become better leaders. I had my powerpoint filled with information and healing actions ready to take on a roadtrip to CWU!

This year Alianza took place at Central Washington University in mid August, this made it more accessible for youth in eastern washington who do not get many opportunities to build community like those who live closer to the city of Seattle.  There were many students from all over WA state, I met someone from my hometown of Marysville,Wa and even students who had just got done working in the fields in Yakima Valley. It was a really unique experience and it was very important to see the impact we can make on each other from beginning activist to community leaders. I was able to connect with a lot of youth who did not know how to become leaders, we talked about what their needs, passions and goals were and how we can all collaborate within networking. It is so so important to let these youth know the ability and power they each hold, especially those who have access to resources and platforms.

I was able to carry out two sessions of my workshop; that you can find here: http://tinyurl.com/selfcare-healing My goal was to provide a space for folxs to learn about self care and healing since these are taboo topics in our culture. It was fun to engage with students and other community leaders regarding what self care looks like to them and also answering questions about the necessity of it being implemented into our daily routines. Seeing the impact immediately was rewarding and inspired me to continue to find new ways to participate actively with the youth in my community.

Alianza and the LCF staff did an amazing job of creating these welcoming and empowering space for allies and youth, something I have never been a part of, something that centered POC and gave us a voice and tools for the work we do. The volunteers and workers made sure that everyone felt like family and invited amazing community voices like: Entre Hermanos and Sixta Lee. I definitely 10/10 recommend getting involved with or attending summits like these that allow you to refine your leadership skills and network with others across the state. I know that there is always a lot of work to be done for these events and I have to say i'm excited to go back next year and reconnect with my Alianza familia!

To learn more about LCF & Alianza: http://www.latinocommunityfund.org/

Photos by: Alianza & Photographer Ej Acholonu