How did I get involved in RBAC? My great, immaculate friend Mariam Bayo helped me a lot. I am so blessed to have a wonderful friend like her. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t really know anything about Rainier Beach Action Coalition. We are a non-profit organization, and I am a Corner Greeter. We have five hot spots which are Safeway, Rose Street, Chief Sealth Trail (Light Rail station), Rite Aid, and Lake Washington. Those five corners are where crime has happened the most. Our job is to greet people and prevent crime from happening. We are at Safeway from 4-7pm EVERY FRIDAY! We have this event called the community healing space where we have circles that are created to help heal and build community, give out nutrition, provide neighborhood updates and resources.
It was March 15 when it was time for me to step up to the plate. My new role would be an Engagement Worker and Corner Greeter Lead. I will never forget about this day. When it was time for me to show my full potential to everyone. It was early in the afternoon when my supervisor was unable to do her role, which is role assignments, ordering nutrition, facilitating our daily check-ins on Mondays, and our mid-week check-ins. She texted me if I could fill in and do that role for her.
At first, I didn’t even text her back. I was thinking to myself do I really want to do this role, because I know that it comes with a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes there are criticisms, and some adultism but then I had to think to myself that in life, you have to learn how to do things that make you uncomfortable. If you are always doing the things that you are comfortable with you will never learn anything in life… So, I took a deep breath. And I texted her and said “yes, I can facilitate today’s meeting”. It was Monday.
It was crazy, because when I started working, I was a freshman. I wanted to take that role and be able to take that leadership role. I achieved that goal, and I am very happy about it. I give myself a tap on the back and it is a blessing. That goal might mean so much to me, if that goal wasn’t meant for me, I don’t think my supervisor would have even asked me to fill in her role.
Some challenges that I had to face were dealing with different personalities from different people. Being more understanding and being able to be more open to other people’s input. I would also say that coordinating and program planning are skills – sometimes you have to do different things to switch the sauce up. You can’t always use the same sauce.
I have learned that sometimes in life not everything will go as planned. Not everyone will think the way I think, and they tend to get upset. I have learned to tell people how I am feeling more and setting boundaries. Taking that role, it is easy for people to walk all over you or think that they can just point the finger at you. I learned a lot about myself. When I was younger, I was always a leader, never a follower, I did not let other people break down my barriers. My supervisor, Gregory Davis, really helped me a lot with building up new skills, like being a better facilitator. My voice used to crack because of nerves. He gave me that confidence that my voice matters. I would also say that he showed me how to use different skills in program planning and taught me to think deeper. Not just saying a one-word answer but going deeper into my thoughts. I want to give Mr. Davis a huge thank you – he could have said I was too young or that it was too much responsibility. He allowed me to find my own way as a leader.
It was a blessing from the creator because that role was meant for me.