In the latest installment of our “Meet the Staff” series, get to know Youth Academic Navigator (YAN) Evelia Gutiérrez, who joined our staff in October, 2018. You can hear more from Evelia on The Landscape from the Omaha Community Foundation, and learn about other D2 Center staff on our Meet the Staff blog page.
What’s your role at the D2 Center?
I am a Youth Academic Navigator or YAN for short. My role is to motivate and encourage disengaged students to finish high school.
How long have you worked at the D2 Center?
I started working with the D2 Center on October 29, 2018 and I am loving every minute of it.
Tell me about your education.
I have an associate’s degree from Metropolitan Community College. Currently, I am attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. I will be graduating on May 8, 2020. Then I will be pursuing a Masters in School Counseling.
What is your professional background?
I worked for the Migrant Education Program with Omaha Public Schools as their Bilingual Liaison for more than 6 years where I fell in love with working with youth from various parts of the world. While I was working as the liaison, I wore many hats, and I was a THRIVE Leadership Club Coach, a leadership club in five OPS high schools. Then I transferred to Bryan High School as their Bilingual Liaison. At BHS I was the Latino Leaders Club Sponsor and I helped lead Title 1/Latino Parents meetings.
Why were you interested in working at the D2 Center?
I’m passionate of working with youth. I believe in the mission and the vision the D2 Center, “The mission of the D2 Center is to connect out-of-school and disengaged youth ages 15-21 into an educational pathway with other resources and supports needed to earn a high school diploma…” I love this job because it’s meaningful. It is extremely rewarding seeing some of the students that were struggling cross the stage to obtain their high school diploma.
What’s your favorite thing about working at the D2 Center?
My favorite thing about the D2 Center is being able to make a difference in someone’s life. We are blessed to come across wonderful students that only need someone to believe on them. These students need someone to walk by their side. There are some days that they might feel down for whatever situation they have going on, but we are there to help them overcome barriers that come on their way to getting their high school diploma.
Tell me about your family.
I am a single mother of three wonderful young men. All the three of them are my pride and joy. My oldest graduated from UNO and the other two are following his footsteps.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my children. Also, I am very social. Almost every weekend I have either a quinceañera, wedding, birthday party or a community event.