CEDARS: Tell us something you remember about being a kid.
Alicia: My favorite memories are of childhood vacations with my parents and my younger brothers. My favorite trip was probably Corpus Christi, Texas. We also went to Mexico and it was such an eye opening experience for me. It really impacted me to see kids who had a very different life than I had.
CEDARS: How long have you worked at CEDARS?
Alicia: I’ve worked at CEDARS Pioneers Center emergency shelter for almost nine years. Up until the last month, I have always worked full time overnights.
CEDARS: What do you currently do?
Alicia: I am the Case Manager at Pioneers Center. My typical day consists of completing intake assessments with new youth and their families, writing Service Plans, getting to know what our kids want to accomplish while they are here, and helping my coworkers out as they need it. I really like doing intake assessments with new youth. It’s a great chance to get to know them and start building rapport right away. I also enjoy talking with parents. I am a mom of two teens and a pre-teen so I can really relate to a lot of the things the parents are going through.
CEDARS: What keeps you coming to work each day?
Alicia: While on overnights, my favorite thing was being able to take care of the kids when they first arrive, are feeling sick, or upset. When it’s late at night and they really need you, they show a vulnerability that is really endearing. I’m a mom and I love “mothering” our teens in the rare times that they let you! Currently I am learning my new position of being Case Manager so I’m always excited to come in and see what new things I will be figuring out.
CEDARS: What is something you have learned while working at CEDARS?
Alicia: It is really hard to say just one thing I’ve learned while working here. I think the most important is that your team—your co-workers—are so important. Take time to get to know them. When you invest in that relationship, even just while you’re working, you are more likely to be understanding when you have differences. Take time to do something for someone else just because you know it will make their day easier for them!
CEDARS: How do CEDARS values influence your work?
Alicia: CEDARS Pioneers Center runs on teamwork. I could not do my job without my co-workers, nor would I want to try. Everyone here is busy, but will help you out in a heartbeat. I think so highly of this group of people!
CEDARS: What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Alicia: I love spending time with my kids and my husband. We spend a lot of time doing kids’ activities but I try to do some things I like every now and then! We have an amazing dog, Katie, so she is my number one hobby. I also love house plants, reading, watching real crime TV, and building projects around the house.
CEDARS: Is there one particular client that you feel was significantly impacted at CEDARS?
Alicia: We had a youth who came to Pioneers Center a few times during her teen years. We built an awesome relationship. She would also call in the night when she was having problems or just needed to talk. She knew this was a safe place for her, even when she wasn’t staying here. I know there were times when she said this was “home” more than anywhere else had been. There are times in this line of work when you are tired, when you cry, but there are also times when you truly see your impact; when a client opens their heart and tells you how much you mean to them, or sends a letter thanking you for everything you did for them, when you know that if it wasn’t for you they would have no one. All of those amazing times make the hard times worth it.