CalSAC is proud to highlight Steven Austin from the LDI Emerging Leaders of Color 2017 cohort. Thank you Steven for being a leader who demonstrates unrivaled commitment to the field, and strive for advanced leadership in out-of-school and early learning!
For Steven Austin, professional development is important because after working for nonprofits for many years, he understands how difficult it is to receive effective training. It is common for Youth Development Professionals (YDPs) to have the passion for youth advancement, but not have the tools to be impactful. To Steven, having the opportunity to grow as a professional is valuable in the YDP field because it provides the support for these professionals to be more confident in their positions.
Steven entered into the YDP field after being a custodian for 5 years. Steven had the passion for making a difference in youth lives, but did not have any formal training and, as a result, felt lost during his first year. After receiving trainings from the Leadership Development at Woodberry University, The Boys & Girls Club Leadership Conference and Teen Accelerator Trainings, Steven began to advance professionally and was eventually given the assurance that he could make a difference. Six years later, he is now the Teen Director at the Boys & Girls Club overseeing staff, facilitating staff trainings and team building activities at meetings, leading to earning the title of 2016-2017 Staff of the Year.
Steven is not done yet. After visiting Sacramento this year with his LDI cohort, Steven realized that the Youth Development field is larger than himself. It was a powerful experience to be able to collaborate with strong leaders from various after school programs in various communities. As he observed the State Capital lawn full of YDPs, he could not help but think to himself that if we could continue to have access to effective training, how much impact could be made in our organizations and communities. This drove him to want to be a facilitator and his desire to be able to provide quality trainings to his YDPs. Steven sees himself traveling to different communities, facilitating large trainings, and supporting professional growth by providing the necessary tools to YDPs.