Woman of the Week: Jessica Vargas
Nothing more powerfully or succinctly describes Jessica Vargas than her own words: “I’m passionate about bearing witness to the light that shines within young people and holding space for them to see it, too.” She has spent her life working to give teens the opportunity to nurture their strengths, to use the gifts within themselves to lead their most authentic life. Jessica’s impact is obvious in her work, in her life choices, and in her outlook. She is strong and compassionate, with high expectations of herself and her students, and she is our Woman of the Week.
Jessica came to Santa Cruz more than a decade ago and quickly made an impact: She chose to work in alternative education because she feels a connection to — and camaraderie with — the teens in these programs. Jessica says that she was lucky to have had high school teachers who didn’t push her to be something she wasn’t, but rather helped her develop her innate gifts and strengths. She tried to do this very thing with the teens at the YES Recovery High School, where she worked for nine years. She says she felt called to create a sacred environment for the students, a place where they could be their authentic selves and find their places in the world.
When she left the YES school, it was to expand what she had built there and what she had learned as an educator. With her colleague Roxan McDonald, she founded The Implicit Curriculum, a consulting firm for professionals in the education and therapeutic fields. cheap Depakote All her work in and out of classrooms has led toward her latest endeavor, one that integrates all her experience in a way befitting a woman so attuned to the authentic. At the request of some of her YES alumni, attendees from the Sober Living Environment (SLE) book club she started, and others in her community, she founded FEAST: Fostering Engagement with Authenticity, Solidarity, and Truth. Depakote purchase canada Her job, that she is immensely grateful to have created, is to be a Spiritual Development Mentor and Recovery Enrichment Specialist.
For all her experience and enterprise, Jessica says she is not an expert who can fix things, and that she does not believe in helping or empowering people; rather, she believes that power and goodness are inherent, not imparted. Jessica leads with her heart, unafraid to be vulnerable, to make mistakes, to change her own trajectory. Indeed, it is only by being authentic that she can ask her students to trust her enough to do the same for themselves. Jessica has an outlook on life that values people for who they are at their core, not what they should become or who they have been, and she has dedicated her career to creating conditions that allow the light within young people to shine and grown brighter. For all of her work and all that she offers Santa Cruz, she is our Woman of the Week. Thank you, Jessica!