By: Rivian Anderson

Starting a new job in the midst of a pandemic as not exactly been smooth sailing. In March, I began my position at Youth and Family Services as a Youth Systems Navigator for our TAY Services program. TAY Services is a program committed to supporting transition age youth (TAY) who face barriers to success in adulthood, including homelessness, abuse, and more. Our program is aimed at helping them lead healthy, successful lives. We offer innovative, effective programming in a safe and welcoming space.

Despite being surrounded by an amazing team and being in a job I love, learning the ropes virtually and stepping into my new role during a season of crisis has brought its own unique challenges. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some great things as well. Working from home has given me more freedom to learn at my own pace and spend time navigating the many resources available to young people in San Diego. However, in the moments that I’ve felt overwhelmed and stressed (as so many of us have during this time) it’s been helpful for me to stay rooted in my “why”.

Before I started working for YFS, I was a former participant. I was a part of the transitional housing program for foster youth. I saw how much impact my case worker and other staff had on myself and other participants and I wanted to be a part of that. And now, I am! Entering adulthood is a critical developmental period that can be further complicated when a young person lacks a supportive network and faces a multitude of barriers. All of those compounding elements, coupled with a global pandemic, has left many of our youth struggling to thrive. Right now, I wish it was easier for people to remember that the participants in our programs are just like everyone else. They want love and respect and safety. I feel that some people see their short comings and forget that they're also human. And let’s face it, it’s really tough to be human right now, no matter who you are.

Despite the challenges of working remotely, I absolutely love the time I get to spend with my participants! They are my “why”. It's incredible to witness the effort and dedication they devote to making their lives and their families lives better. They never cease to amaze me with their gratitude and persistence. At the end of the day, I'm here for my participates and that's what I look forward to everyday. That’s what has kept me going during this unpredictable and strange season of life.

Rivan Anderson is the Youth Systems Navigator for the TAY Services program at Youth and Family Services. She is passionate about the youth she serves, and the positive outcomes her youth experiences while being a part of TAY Services. When Rivian isn’t serving young people, she enjoys cuddling with her cat while reading a good book. During Covid-19, she has been practicing self-care by changing up her hairstyles by experimenting with styles she’s always wanted to try.