Before embarking on the LA Fellows journey I didn’t know a lot of things, this quote being one of the them. Or more accurately, maybe it was that I didn’t know how to do a lot of things. That all began to change when I attended an LA Fellows orientation.
It was last May when I first caught wind of the program. Recently returned from serving in the Peace Corps, unemployed, and living at home, I was deep in my job search. One late night, my mom told me she saw a story on the KTLA news about a career opportunity that might be a good fit for everything I’d been looking for. “It’s for non-profits,” she said. “You’d be good at that. It’s called LA Fellows.”
The next morning, I was glued to my computer screen--looking up the website, learning about the program’s mission, and reading the testimonials. When I saw that there were three upcoming orientation sessions scheduled within the next three Fridays, I thought the timing of it all was too good to pass up.
To be completely honest, the time spent between finding LA Fellows and attending the orientation was marked by doubt (“Am I ready for this?”) and insecurity (“What if I’m not what they’re looking for?”), but ultimately belief in the challenge (“Yes I am, I can do this”). There it was: an opportunity dressed in overalls and looking like work. I decided I was ready and I was going to make it work.
When orientation finally arrived, I remember walking into the room feeling nervous but just as excited to get a glimpse of the program first-hand. For those two hours, I was hooked on the program’s mission to help individuals finding meaningful employment. I was transfixed by the excitement, dedication, and understanding each of the speakers showed the crowd as they spoke about their LA Fellows experience. But what really clinched it for me was how inspiring the Program Director’s enthusiasm was for both the program she led and the people she worked with.
As I left the orientation that day, not only did I feel even more excited and eager to become an LA Fellow, I felt different about myself. Instead of feeling like my career path was taking a step in a new direction, I felt as if my career path was becoming more focused, realigned, and reaffirmed. And that was only after attending the orientation!
Fast-forward to present day. Here I am a proud LA Fellow. I am beyond happy to say that I am employed as part of the LA Valley College Job Training team and have gained a broader outlook on all of the things I’ve learned from the program, including the saying “Opportunity is missed by most people because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work” (thank you Lynnette Ward). Orientation proved to be just the beginning of an eye-opening journey to finding more focus, alignment, and affirmation for both my career goals and for myself. To any future Fellows reading this, I hope you’ll find it does that for you too.