Perla is a member of our Mission Ambassador team. These are our college-based representatives that educate the community on the realities of foster care and the actions they can take to change outcomes for these young people. She is driven to succeed, deeply caring and compassionate, and models our vision of giving every young person an equal chance to succeed.
What is your position with Doing Good Works?
I am a Mission Ambassador which means I promote Doing Good Works branded products on my college campus. The more I do it, the more I realize that people are unaware of the challenges foster youth go through in the system. Sometimes the image seems to be that if you are in the system, then you do not go to school, and you do not have dreams. So, Mission Ambassadors give groups we talk to at colleges a little lesson and educate them. Foster youth need help to succeed and that is why we (Doing Good Works) exist. We also share the impact we have had on many of the students on campus and the nearby businesses we work with. The campus organizations purchase what they need and end up helping the youth which is the most important thing. It works and I am a part of it; I just feel good about my job.
How did you come to work at Doing Good Works?
I was volunteering at an event at Santiago Canyon College that one of the coordinators for the Guardian Scholars put together. I made some videos about the statistics around foster youth and how challenging it is to overcome them. I met Scott Henderson (CEO & Co-Founder) and James Padian (Director of Education Accounts) at our on-campus golf tournament. They really liked how I portrayed the message in the videos. They told me they had job opportunities and that if I ever needed anything to give them a call. My coordinator reiterated that they were awesome people and that I should try working with them. Without a doubt, I said okay, because they helped my school which means that they helped me! I thought, “I owe it to these guys!” We had a meeting and clicked, and I started in April 2019. It has been an incredible journey; I learn something new every day which is incredible to experience at a company.
Doing Good Works is founded on the mission that every young person aging out of foster care deserves an equal chance to succeed and access to the networks and tools that can empower them. What does this mission mean to you?
It just means everything! Everyone should have an equal chance to succeed no matter what their shape or form. After going through so much these kids need all types of support — financial and emotional.
What did you study in college?
Human services and I want to go into social work.
What are your career goals, now or for the future?
I am going to finish college in the next one and a half years, ideally early. After I earn my B.A., I plan to go into a Master’s program for social work. In the meantime, I want to keep myself surrounded by people in the field who give me knowledge so that when I get a “real” job, I have practical experience. I want to work with youth because when I was growing up, there were not many social workers supporting me in the best way. I want to help kids and let them know that being a foster youth is not the end of the world — you can always turn it around. And because I went through it, I think I can be helpful.
Can you share one example of how mentorship has made an impact on your life?
After you graduate high school, one can feel lost and wonder about the next steps. Questions come up like, do I even want to go to college? Is it worth it? How will I even pay for it? I had someone pushing me and telling me that yes, I could do it. I have had a few mentors, one was a volunteer mentor and one was from Olive Crest. Each one has guided me differently.
How do you look to make an impact either through your work or in your life?
I expect myself to be life-changing for someone, to make them feel encouraged and capable of meeting a challenge. I always want to leave an impact whether it is small or big. Working with Doing Good Works is already allowing me to be impactful because every purchase helps someone financially and educates people around foster youth.
What are your hobbies and outside interests — what do you like to do when you are not working or not in school?
I usually go to the gym because it is a great stress reliever and getaway. I like going on trips — trips are always fun. I love trying new food, desserts! I like to work hard throughout the year and then have some time to enjoy myself on vacation.
Are there any recent accomplishments you are proud of that you can share — (anything from learning how to boil an egg to purchasing your first car!)
I always set up goals and when I accomplish them, I am always searching for more. It takes a while for me to say “hey, you did that!” If I look back, I can see growth and that I am not the same person I was before. I am proud of a lot of things — including being the person my little brother, my sister, and my niece can depend on for guidance.
What is your favorite book, tv show, or movie and why?
Oh, wow that’s a hard one! Quarantine is a rare time where I am actually watching tv — I didn’t as much before! Right now, I am really enjoying Army Wives — my boyfriend is in the military and he’s not active now but it’s very interesting to see how the military works.
What is something unusual, surprising, or funny that people may not know about you?
I like my pizza with ketchup! People always look at me like “where are you going to put the ketchup?!”
What does Doing Good Works mean to you?
In the name itself, you get the meaning. Doing good will always work. The team is one of a kind. I have never had such a great experience and it is hard to imagine that I will again — so I am enjoying it while I can!