Passionate about creating resilience in future generations
Growing up in poverty and breaking the cycle wasn't an easy task. I've watched students and adults struggle with their past and I want to cultivate resilience at an early age.
I am a first generation high school and college graduate. After graduating Ball High School in Galveston, Texas, I joined the US Army as a generator mechanic. I remember sitting in a class and a recruiter coming in to talk to us, it was at that moment I thought this is the way out. I signed up and was shipped out two weeks after graduation. Unfortunately old habit die hard and it wasn't long before I had found myself in a bit of trouble, I was demoted to the lowest rank and was near giving up, getting out, and going home. Something in me sparked and within one year I was being promoted to Sergeant, 5 ranks above the demotion I had received. That bounce back, my resilience was key to overcoming what I had done and moving forward to be my best self.
At that time I had also gotten married, 19 years old, living in Germany, and we had a baby on the way. My wife of two weeks was sent to Fort Campbell, Kentucky and I was deployed to Saudi Arabia. I arrived to be by her side during the birth approximately five hours before our son was born and I left 30 days later. For the first six years of our marriage we spent only two and a half of it living under the same roof. Tough times on any marriage, let alone two kids from divorced families with a child.
I was in Iraq working as an Army Contractor on drones when my wife called to tell me she was pregnant with our second child. This time when I went home for the birth of my daughter, I didn't go back. We hunkered down working for a family business and I started classes at Weber State University. Unsure of exactly what I wanted to do, I opted for a Bachelor’s of Integrated Studies in Communications, Child and Family Studies and Military Science, and Minored in Social Work. While I wasn't quite sure of the words at that time, I had broken a cycle. I had been the first to graduate high school and now I was the first to go to college. Graduating felt like I had moved a mountain and when they pinned that captain rank on my chest I thought, wow, this is a far cry from the demoted private I was just 13 years ago. I started working for Child Protective Services as a Social Worker and from there I saw children who were fighters, they were resilient. I started to ask myself, can this be taught? I enrolled in Boston University and started my graduate degree in social work.
During this time I was still serving in the Army Reserves and was sent to Master Resilience Trainer training. I started working for school districts and have served as a school social worker and was part of a gang Taskforce, a behavior specialist, and as a social and emotional learning specialist. In these rolls I have received training from the Why Try Training Center, as well as .
I am dedicated to cultivating Resilience in everyone I come into contact with. The core values Island Resilience utilizes to provide the best service is competence, growth and motivation. Along with providing Resilience training to deploying and redeploying Soldiers I have had the opportunity to give other adults the necessary skills to build relationships with kids.
Masters of Social Work, Boston University
Bachelors of Integrated Studies, Weber State University.
Minor in Social Work, Weber State University.
Master Resilience Trainer - US Army
CROSS Training/Gang Related Interventions