Lucy and Danielle are Youth Advisors with our Arts Integrated Resources (AIR) Youth Engagement Team. Youth Advisors partner with us year-round to further our mission of engaging young people as agents of change to improve health in their communities. Both Lucy and Danielle started their relationship with us as members of our Community Health Action Team (CHAT) more than 5 years ago when they were in high school. Lucy is currently pursuing her degree in music and is constantly exploring new art forms, including jewelry making, writing, textiles, and vocal music. Danielle recently completed her higher education certificate in graphic design, and is passionate about visual art, creative writing, and promoting the importance of having a creative outlet to make life healthier.
Over the years of working together, we have created a lot of meaningful resources for youth across Colorado, and had a lot of fun and laughs. I recently sat down with these 2 remarkable young women to talk about work, play, and growing.
Mark: “Has working in the youth programs at Kaiser Permanente challenged you?”
Danielle: “When I first started as a Youth Advisor transitioning from CHAT, I hadn’t graduated from graphic design school. I was tasked with editing and designing templates for a state-wide resource for youth health education. It took about a year. I was just learning graphic programs, and by editing those plans I learned a lot more about graphic design and how hard it can be. It taught me how to pay more attention to detail. Right off the bat with the internship I felt challenged to develop skills to be a better designer and have a better work ethic.”
Lucy: “I feel like I have never been good at presenting, although I have grown. On paper or when creating a presentation,
I can think of everything that needs to be said. But when it came time to present, it would go out the window for me. Although I still struggle with presenting, this job has pushed me to become a better presenter. Also, all the research and writing I have done while working at KP has helped me to become a better writer. I used to have a lot of trouble staying on topic when writing. Through this job, I feel that I have really grown as a writer. It has helped me through high school, college, and work even to this day.”
Mark: “Has working at KP AIR effected your perception of having a job?”
Danielle: “I feel lucky to have this opportunity. I have worked other jobs and talked with friends about the difference in working here than at some retail store. I have a bunch of friends who tell me ‘I am not being respected at my job. They aren’t treating me fairly, etc.’ And one of the best things about working here is I have the privilege to experience the difference between a leader who is a partner and a boss. They are two very different things. It helped me realize that no matter where you work, your team is only as good as your leader. I have come to feel a little spoiled because when I work other jobs, if I feel like I’m not being respected the way I am at KP, I refuse to be in that environment.”
Lucy: “I feel like it has taught me how to handle conflict by asking questions or by being up front. For example, I used to work at a movie theater where the managers would often tell me I wasn’t doing my job right. I would tell them they needed to teach me how to do it right instead of just complain. Now at my current job, I feel that I can ask my manager questions without getting complaints or into trouble.”
Mark: “I know you work really hard in your role here at KP. We play a lot, too. How do both of those go hand in hand?”
Danielle: “The line between work and play being blurry creates an environment where you build a culture of being open. We’ve developed a culture of play. Here, you can be honest about times when it is hard to focus, or you’re getting too groggy, or you need a brain break. A lot of people would look and wonder, ‘How do they get things done?’ But this is the most productive job I’ve ever had. We have this culture where we are consistently bouncing back energy to each other and have developed a way to work at a really fast pace and mix it up with play. It relieves stress, and wakes your brain up, and then you’re refreshed and go right back to working.”
Lucy: “In most jobs, you don’t really get to know your coworkers outside of the work environment, so it can be difficult to work with someone you don’t know. Through work and play, you get the chance to develop those relationships and get to know the person a little more than just how they usually show up. It helps to develop that comfort level and trust among your peers, which also affects the work in a positive and productive way.”
Mark: “Has working with the Youth Engagement Team and being in the youth programs effected how you perceive or interact with adults in your life?”
Danielle: “Working here and growing up has gone hand in hand. I have developed a lot of who I am through working here because I started here in my adolescence. I have come to realize that some adults will view youth as less because of just their age. That is something very big in my life because I grew up in Latinex culture. There is this view that elders know best, and because they lived one way, they know the best way for everyone. I still have great respect for my elders. But this job has changed my perception. This job emphasis youth voice, and it gave me the space to realize the value in my own voice, even in a culture that tells me I know less because of my age. So I guess this job helped me mature. Not just mature, but to give me a more mature understanding of people in general and what it means to be a young person and the power of having a voice.”
Lucy: “During middle and high school, I tended to see most adults as enemies and would avoid them. They would yell at you for no reason, or suspect you were up to no good. But one instance in which my perception began to change was on the day I came to turn in my application for CHAT. I was shocked by how nicely I was treated in comparison to how I had been treated in school. By having been treated as an equal rather than a possible troublemaker, it has made a huge impact overall in my interactions with adults at school, work, and home.”