Dear Opportunity Junction Community,
While my deepest gratitude in my professional life is reserved for the Opportunity Junction team and alumni, I am also grateful to collaborate with other local organizations and leaders. One partnership we belong to is the East Contra Costa Community Alliance.
Last week we held a Community Listening Session (CLS) at our office, and we had a leader in every chair.
Most of the eight participants were alumni of the Administrative Careers Training program. Half of them were parents. The genders, races, and ethnicities of the group mirrored those of our alumni population. Mostly working “good jobs,” they face myriad challenges. One was trying to find an affordable apartment for them and their girlfriend. Despite both being employed, there was almost nothing in their price range except a 420-square-foot studio listed at $1,600.
Other employed alumni reported waiting in line at food banks but sometimes being turned away when the food ran out. School lunches, resources for children with disabilities, public safety and mental health, and empty storefronts were among the many concerns expressed based on their lived experience.
The contrast with what life looks like on Facebook or Instagram is stark. Social media and small talk usually capture the high notes, celebrations, and successes. And we need those. But I deeply appreciate the willingness of our CLS participants to share the low notes, too: the challenges they continue to face, the challenges we need to address together.
For this one evening, I sat silent at the periphery taking notes. Colleagues from Rubicon Programs (“DC” Dorham-Kelly) and the Family Justice Center (Shannon Starzyk) facilitated the session. I admired their leadership and the leadership of every one of our participants. We truly had a leader in every chair.
Meanwhile, as the Opportunity Junction Board plans for my transition into retirement next year, it is partnering with Edgility Consulting to lead the CEO search. The application is now live, and I would love for you to share this job description link with anyone you know who may be interested. Please also feel free to share this LinkedIn post with your networks.
Edgility has graciously agreed to a 15-minute introductory call with anyone curious about the role or the process. Please have folks reach out to Celena Jenkins,