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Celebrating Black Leaders 2023: Calvin

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

In honor of Black History Month, throughout the month of February, Star House will showcase black excellence and black leaders through a series of interviews. We introduce the series by highlighting Calvin Washington, Star House’s 2nd shift Drop-in Supervisor.

What is your role?

I am the 2nd Shift Drop In Services Supervisor.

Tell us how you got to Star House.

I started working at Star House as a Security Guard back in January 2019. I worked that position for 7 months, and later on in November of that year I was offered a position as a Youth Advocate. I always knew that this was the place for me to be, because I was able to resonate with the guests we serve based off of my own struggles, and experiences in life. Every day I found little reflections of myself in the youth here, so it was exciting to take on a position where I got to play a role in helping them transition their lives in a way that would get them off the streets!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the youth accomplish their goals that they've been yearning to achieve for so long. There's nothing like seeing that youth finally get the job they've been going after, or finally getting housed, or graduating from school. I know all of our youth have dreams and aspirations of their own, whether they have direction on how to go after those desires or not. Because of that, I strive to be a pillar of support and inspiration to them, and I just love to witness those moments when they finally step into the doors they desire. It also feels really good when they remember some of the advice you gave them, or lessons you taught them.

What have you learned from the youth we serve?

For me our youth have always exhibited this core navigation that we all should have in life. I watch these youth share their last with each other, put aside differences to defend one another, and they have a lot of moments of camaraderie with each other. I believe the world would be a better place if we all acted from a place of those qualities, and did it with humility. I also admire their strength, and will to survive.

How does it feel to be a Black leader and role model to our youth?

I've always taken pride in having the opportunity to be a black leader and role model for our youth. I started working at Star House when I was 23 years old, and at that point I had resonation with the youth just off of my own trauma, struggles, and experiences in life. For me, my desired mission here has always been to show our youth that despite any odds the world places against you, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to, and you have the direct control of where you want your life to go. I could have ended up in the most unfortunate situations however because of my faith, self-confidence, and drive I've taken the circumstances of my life in my own hands, and I'm on track to where I truly want to be in life. I believe all of our youth have that same gumption and will power, and I feel inspired to help bring that out!

Is there anything you’d like to share or add?

I think that this is a great way of honoring the work of the black leaders in this company, and all that they do for the youth of our community! Cudos to you guys for this idea, and Black Power Forever!


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