Wendy's Story

Wendy's Story

At the 2019 California Afterschool & Summer Challenge, LA’s BEST alum, Wendy Ruiz, spoke to a crowd of over 200 people about the importance of afterschool. As someone who benefited from the sanctuary of afterschool growing up and is currently a parent of two, Wendy has benefited from these programs both in the past and in the present.

CalSAC's Executive Transition

CalSAC's Executive Transition

Our board and staff have designed a transition process that aligns with CalSAC’s values and culture and we intend to make this a collaborative and thoughtful process that will stand out as a model for the field. In the spirit of transparency, we invite you to review our executive transition plan below and encourage you to connect with us throughout the process. Gathering input from our community is an important component of our process and we hope that you will participate in our stakeholder survey to inform the future of the organization and this important hire.

A Message from Aleah

Dear friends and colleagues,

Reflecting on my years of memories, I am humbled by the supreme love, commitment, talent, and passion of the people that make up the out-of-school time field.

As many of you know, my connection to CalSAC started a few years before I joined the staff team. I can’t help but relate the feeling of stepping into a new transition as I am now with the feeling that seems to come up when you are about to facilitate your 5 Minutes of Fame at the Training of Trainers Institute, or walk in to a room full of strangers at the LDI Opening Retreat, or open your mouth to speak with your legislator at the CA Afterschool and Summer Challenge.

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I think of the words of Maggie Kuhn: “Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind - even if your voice shakes.” I’m positive my voice shook during each of these moments. Yet, it is the feeling of being encouraged, seen, and heard by the community surrounding me that I remember most, and what drove me to find my role with the CalSAC team. It is with this same sense of support and empowerment – and slowly breaking down the walls of fear – that I make the leap into a new opportunity and make way for others to create these experiences for the field.

During my five and half years at CalSAC, I have been most proud of:

  • growing the Leadership Development Institute fellowship to a network of over 100 alum across California, and developing partnerships to fill in gaps of equity-centered leadership development in the OST field and beyond;

  • empowering CalSAC Trainers to hone their skills as facilitators, mentors, and technical assistance providers with a network that is unmatched across the state and country;

  • expanding the advocacy and organizing capabilities of youth workers to drive change in their communities;

  • and helping amplify the courageous and bold vision that CalSAC dreams is possible for young people, families, and the OST workforce.

I am inspired by the CalSAC team, and am confident that the talent, commitment, and love that they bring to the work everyday will usher in new possibilities for the organization, while maintaining the strengths and uniqueness of our programs.

It has been a long and fulfilling journey, and now I am ready to bring my voice and advocacy for the people of the OST field in a new way. In my role with the Foundation for California Community Colleges, I will help address the needs of the expanded learning workforce by bridging partnerships, strategies, and initiatives that work, and advancing the workforce development goals of the Expanded Learning Division’s Strategic Plan 2.0.

Recently, at the Site Coordinator Symposium, I heard a site lead say, “I live and breathe afterschool, I want to retire in afterschool!” I felt alive in that moment, knowing that I will be helping to move that statement closer to a reality.

I have never felt this connected, challenged, or aligned. I look forward to standing with you and voicing what matters, even if our voice shakes. Together, I believe we can ensure a more just and equitable California for young people, and for the thousands of adults that grow with them.

In community and gratitude,

Aleah