Growing up in south Vallejo had its ups and downs. It was fun to be around the culture; but it was difficult growing up in an area that was predominantly affected by the refinery. I watched my brother struggle with playing sports and doing activities because of the asthma he has acquired from the hazardous gases. Seeing this was heartbreaking. It completely opened my eyes and showed me that this is the only world we have, and if we don’t take care of it, we will only cause damage to ourselves and our families. From then on, I was determined to make a difference and help lessen our carbon footprint on this earth. My determination shaped my goals, and I am now working hard to obtain a career in the biofuel sector, where I will find more eco-friendly ways to power our planet. I was hired as a LIFT (Leader in Field Training) during the summer of 2018. The job experience I’ve had this summer is crucial to my success, particularly because the career I am aiming to achieve is not only extremely competitive but white-male dominated. Being an African American woman attempting to find a spot in this field, I am expected to go to great lengths to simply be noticed. Through this position, I learned critical skills and gained experience in energy efficiency that I believe will help me remain competitive as I pursue my future career. Rising Sun promotes a greener and more environmentally friendly lifestyle and community. Rising Sun has taught how to help achieve their mission, to empower individuals to achieve environmental and economic sustainability for themselves and their communities.

Throughout this program, I have obtained many leadership skills that I will be able to apply to my career and everyday life. For example, time management has been a key component in the success of this job. I manage appointments, outreach, and ensure breaks and lunches are set and on time so each shift runs smoothly. Another skill that I have procured is flexibility. There are instances where the schedule doesn’t go according to plan forcing you to be able to adapt to sudden changes and be flexible to make sure that the job is completed correctly. These skills can be exercised in any future career. Utilizing them will allow me to create an easier work environment for myself and my coworkers. Unfortunately, the road to success comes with many obstacles; one being my education. I have found myself in a predicament where I do not qualify for financial aid and my parents do not have the funds to send me to school. Hence the reason I have to work multiple jobs to get where I want to be. Since I’m working multiple jobs, my grades are only adequate, which prevents me from getting scholarships. This vicious cycle is very challenging, however with my will and determination, I will overcome my struggles using the resources and skills I’ve learned at Rising Sun. As a LIFT I’ve learned how to expand my professional development skills. I’ve learned how to optimize my LinkedIn account, refine my resume, and money management. The skills I am acquiring from this job can be applied to my current life and help prepare me for my career after this job. I believe that this leadership experience will open up many opportunities, helping me achieve my goals.

Written by: Adriana Walker
Serving South Solano communities