The semester started off with an amazing retreat at the Fresno Rescue Mission. The retreat’s theme was on “Collective Enoughness,” – Shaping Institutions: Organizational Cultural Change. We were able to tour the facility and hear testimonials from two speakers. One speaker discussed the current journey of overcoming some barriers that he was facing himself and, on the decisions, he had made that were not good for him. His struggles have not broken him but given him the motivation to turn things around for himself and his family. He has decided to want more and help others who are experiencing some of what he has in life.
The other person has continued her mission of inspiring others to not give up and believe when it is so easy to stop believing. She has made the Fresno Rescue Mission her very on a personal mission and is investing in making the difference with the individuals she works with. She had faced many obstacles but had overcome them and continues to thrive. They motivated me to not give up with the participants I currently work with and helped me understand that barriers can be broken, and new bridges can be built to a stronger path of discovery.
During the retreat, we also had the privilege to meet Bob Nelson, FUSD Superintendent who shared some information on the topic of “What’s working in Fresno Unified”. He was very open on sharing and spoke to us with no hesitation of being in the position he held and on the current issues he was addressing. I thought that was powerful and honest on his part.
Another guest speaker was Esmeralda Soria, newly elected Fresno City Council President who spoke to us about her personal journey and Fresno’s assets. She was very powerful in motivating us on not to give up on our dreams and set goals for ourselves. She has been apart of many causes and relates to many of us on wanting to make a difference to the communities we serve or plan to work with. Both were amazing and took time from their busy schedules, especially on a weekend to meet with us. Excellent examples of leaders who care about the future leaders that Fresno State and the Humanics Program is working with.
This leads us to the final day of joining in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. walk with hundreds of people and leaders in our community. President Castro and his wife Mary were also among us and many CBOs. As Dr. Jendian states “we consider it a “day on” for our community, rather than a “day off”. Those words stayed in my head at the retreat and during the semester. Also “Trust the process”. The group activities were also fundamentals to help establish what to expect during the semester and in our groups.