Destiny’s Journey Continues: A Foster Youth’s Story

Destiny Alvarado, FCNI Youth Partner
October, 9, 2018 -

Previously on our blog, we introduced you to Destiny and shared her personal journey from foster youth to FCNI Youth Partner. We’ve been so thankful for Destiny and her inspirational spirit--she truly transformed her life and circumstances into teaching opportunities to support our Transitional-Age youth in amazing ways. We’re now sharing the next leg of Destiny’s journey, as she continues to follow her dreams and inspire us all.

Several months ago in my last blog, I shared about my passion and goal to go into nursing and eventually work as a traveling nurse. In the last year while working at FCNI, I was able to attend some classes at Cuesta to get some of my prerequisites completed, and I’m still on track to move towards nursing. In the next few months, I’ll finally be moving on from FCNI and on to the next phase of my life--being a full-time nursing student!

Now I’m making plans to move out of state to Idaho with my boyfriend, and we’re fortunate to be able to live with his family for a while to save some money and focus on school full time, which is an opportunity I’ve never had before. I’m looking forward to living out in the country on tons of land, with lots of space for my dogs to run around, and time to take a break from full time work and focus on school. I look forward to living in a family setting, especially because I’ve never had a positive one. I can’t wait to share meals with a family, and have a community to share with and draw from. I finally have an opportunity to get to do what “normal” young adults do straight out of high school, and go to school full time with the support of a family. I’m more excited now than ever to pursue nursing, and my year serving as a Youth Partner has taught me so much that will be incredibly valuable in my career as a nurse.

My job as a Youth Partner at FCNI has exposed me to so much learning and personal growth. I have learned more about Child Development as well as Mental Health and Wellness. At FCNI, I learned first through training and but mostly through experience on how to interact with those struggling with mental illness in the best and most productive ways. I’ve also learned about drug and alcohol addiction and recovery. All of this learning and experience has given me a rich background that will enhance my nursing schooling in ways I can’t even measure.

For example, I’ve learned that one of the best ways you can support someone struggling with anxiety is to empower them. I noticed in the community that our youth often hear people asking, “Why haven’t you done this?” or “Why can’t you do this?” which is not the best way to interact with someone struggling with anxiety. I’ve learned to ask questions such as, “How can I help you?” and “What do you need from me?”, rather than making suggestions or statements that belittle. In the healthcare field, I think most people have some natural anxiety, and I feel like the tools I’ve learned as a Youth Partner will help me navigate providing quality healthcare in the future.

During these last few weeks at FCNI, I’ve been preparing myself and my clients a lot, so that my transition onward will be smooth and positive for everyone. I’ve worked with some of my clients the entire year I’ve been a Youth Partner at FCNI, so preparing to leave has been very emotional for all of us. Personally, I’ve been getting ready to say goodbye without being a total mess. I’ve been speaking very openly and honestly with my youth, telling them when I’m moving on and about how I’ll be continuing to pursue my personal dreams and goals. We’ve been doing a lot of fun and memorable activities to bring healthy closure, and I’m spending as much time with all of them as possible. They’re all happy for me, but of course it has been hard to say goodbye. I’ve had an amazing experience seeing these youth grow so much over the past year that I’ve been a part of their lives.

I am so proud of the progress and growth I’ve seen so many youth make this year. One young woman I’ve worked with has really inspired me. She dropped out of high school in her senior year, but six months ago she went back to Adult School and finished her classes to get her diploma. Now, she is a freshman at Cuesta College, and is really enjoying her classes and doing so well. I have witnessed her going through such a beautiful process of growth and maturity, and I’m so grateful for this opportunity.

Something that I have loved about working at FCNI is that we have so many incredible professionals gathered in one space: therapists, social workers, LVN, and various administrative staff to draw and learn from. It’s been great to work in such a professional working environment where I can walk into anyone’s office with questions and feel supported and learn so much. Through this past year working at FCNI, I’ve loved having an opportunity to grow as a professional and positively contributing community member, learning how to give back and grow, and especially for the growth and learning opportunities that I could never have gained anywhere else except FCNI. While I’m sad to move on from the FCNI family, I have to say working there has also inspired and empowered me to continue climbing higher towards my personal career and life goals!