February 18, 2014

Meet the D2 Center Staff: Crystal Cardenas, Youth Academic Navigator (YAN)

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Update 2/28/2018: Crystal no longer works at the D2 Center. Good luck in your new endeavors, Crystal!

What’s your role at the D2 Center?

I am a Youth Academic Navigator.

How long have you worked at the D2 Center?

I joined the D2 Center on January 2, 2014.

Tell me about your education.

I am currently working on my Master’s of Crime Management and Justice Administration at Bellevue University. I graduated in June 2010 from Bellevue University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Communications. I am an Omaha South High graduate, Class of 2004.

What is your professional background?

I started my career working for non-profit organizations. I worked for Girls Inc. of Omaha for six years (two years as Center Director), Women’s Center for Advancement for a little over a year (Bilingual Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Advocate/ Hotline) and Child Saving Institute for one year (Bilingual Visitation Specialist). I also worked at the Literacy Center of the Midlands for one year.

Why were you interested in working at the D2 Center?

Most of my career I have worked with youth and really feel there is a need to help them out. In my last job, I worked helping kids, especially girls, see there are a lot of possibilities for them to succeed by exposing them to different opportunities. The reason I was interested in the D2 Center was because I wanted disengaged youth to have the same opportunities and to show them that we care about their future and we are not giving up. I want to try and restore the trust in teens and young adults.

What’s your favorite thing about working at the D2 Center?

My favorite thing about working here is that I get to know the youth on a personal level and get the opportunity to understand their situation. I get to provide extra help, outside academics, to help them accomplish their goal of earning a high school diploma. I get the opportunity to mentor the students I work with.

Tell me about your family.

I am married and have 3 beautiful children, two of them school age and one toddler. My husband works for Lozier Corporation in the evenings. I have a lot of support from my mother and father and four siblings. I am the oldest of five children and the first to go to college. I am Mexican American but my parents are from Mexico; they emigrated to the Unites States 30 years ago. We grew up in California.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to read, dance and spend quality time with my family. Also, in my free time I mentor! I officially mentor two teenage girls but I love to talk to youth and stay updated on issues they face. It helps me, as an adult, understand them better.

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About Carolyn

Carolyn Miller is one of the directors of the D2 Center. She is a graduate of Omaha Northwest High School and the University of Iowa. Carolyn has been with the D2 Center since 2010.

View all posts by Carolyn