My desire to join the world of social work proved innate and organic since the pillars of the field parallel the way I lead my personal and professional life. Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to promoting and helping employees grow and thrive personally and in the workplace. This dedication to implementing a living salary, continued education, financial literacy and equal opportunity sparked my interest to further my educational path since these practices within the working environment were not commonplace. Through my work experience I saw a need for financial literacy as I watched employees work multiple jobs and struggle to make ends meet. I saw the insurmountable stress that people faced on a daily basis and how much it negatively affected stability within their lives. I knew that I needed to do something that proved longer lasting and further reaching. I decided to set out to not only change the dynamic of financial capability for all, but also to help people to cope with the stress of our fast-changing environment.
My trajectory towards my goals in the world of social work started with one of the largest challenges of my life. While attending X College, I received the devastating news that I had early signs of cancer, requiring invasive and immediate treatment. Shortly thereafter, I also lost my home. These hardships caused a shift in my focus, priorities, and ultimate trajectory of my educational path. These humbling experiences afforded me the privilege of learning to maintain strength, perseverance, empathy and humility, despite the adversities.
My perseverance and dedication to finding my footing in the world again allowed me to begin the journey of running restaurants at the age of twenty-five. After experiencing poverty, debilitating anxiety and a decline in my own health I knew that creating a safe environment for people to thrive in was of the utmost importance to me. I took the lessons I learned through my experiences into my career and created policy within the businesses that I ran that reflected my dedication to implementing a living wage for all employees. Specifically, I standardized paid time off, extended sick leave, improved access to healthcare, and facilitated equal opportunity for all people that desired growth. My new position allowed me to offer personal mentorship, helping employees advance within the company and in the growing hospitality industry as a whole. This was incredibly rewarding for me, especially when I was able to see those who I mentored move on in their career to build enriched and financially stable lives.
When I moved on from this company, I carried my ethos with me into my next three
businesses. I became a general manager at a restaurant, opened a distillery for the bar, and started my own hospitality consulting business. Now, not only did I dedicate myself to treating employees ethically, I also was persistent in investigating the companies I used to supply the businesses that I oversaw. While working for the restaurant, I made multiple trips a year to Mexico to ensure that the products I purchased for the business were from companies that did not exploit or undercut their employees. In conjunction with my stand on supporting ethical business practices, I was given the opportunity to also open a mezcal distillery with [X name] in Tijuana. By opening the distillery, we were able to provide access to electricity, running water, transportation and basic human needs to the village where the mezcal was made. The experience I gained at this point in my life changed my trajectory of what I truly wanted to pursue, planting a seed for me to fight for change within my field of work.
When I made the decision to leave the hospitality industry it was innately due to the fact that I couldn’t continue to be part of an industry that primarily cared about their bottom line and not the people that worked to ensure their success. I left knowing that I wanted to redirect my life and embark on making changes that were designed to help lift people out of difficult situations to ultimately generate stability, prosperity and fulfillment. I wanted to ensure that progressive changes I spearheaded would prove wider reaching and longer lasting. I knew I wanted to be a mentor, a coach and a financial planner since I was privileged and honored to be in the positions I was granted in life, I wanted to share what I had learned with others.
In an effort to gain experience I have been honored to have the opportunity to volunteer as a crisis Counselor for Crisis Line. During my time working as a counselor I have seen a common trend amongst people in crisis which resonated with me; lack of access to healthcare and financial disparity. This work, that I continue to do weekly, has shown me the fundamental need for people to not only have financial security but also to have access to healthcare which includes mental health services. This experience furthered my understanding on how financial instability can cause a milieu of problems and can be at the root of anxiety, stress and affect mental health in an adverse way. Without access to channels that teach financial literacy and techniques to cope with stress on a continuous basis, I knew that any relief I did bring might be short lived. There is still a need for dependable, ongoing care that I would not be able to give unless I decided to continue my education and further my mission to help people live a stable and prosperous life.
When I started looking into social work, X University was my first choice. I’m inspired to learn from the brilliant minds of coveted professors at X School, whose work includes devoting tireless time and effort to social change, innovation and diversity. I feel that there are many like-minded professors that share my passions and goals within the school.
I am inspired by the idea of being placed in the field, to allow me the privilege of gaining some real-life experience, paralleling my studies, and ultimately allowing me to explore the multiple facets that make up the large body of social work. I am confident that I will be able to fully devote myself to the program and will not have the added responsibility of working while I am in school. Should I be accepted, the X School is one I am confident will prepare me to meet my goals, give me the relevant field experience that I am seeking, and will prepare me to be a future leader in the field of social work.
When I made the decision that I would like to pursue graduate work at X University, I knew that there would be costs that I would have to consider and navigate if I were granted acceptance. I have over half of the funds in savings for school from when I was working in the hospitably industry and plan on applying to The X Scholarship Fund, The XY Scholarship, and hope to be awarded the X Merit Scholarship. After savings and possible scholarships, I would like to apply for a stipend with the X Project.
What I am hoping to focus on while attending X University are the core challenges of building financial capability for all and reducing extreme economic inequality. Since financial literacy is an optional topic for California teachers to incorporate in their lesson plans, it has become extremely illusive in our educational programs statewide. The implications of this lack of education can create and has created broad economic impacts that will affect our local and state economies and could result in further layoffs, another crash in the housing market and people facing even more insurmountable debt. The people that will be most affected by this illiteracy, those that are marginalized and face a lower socioeconomic status, will harbor the brunt of these negative impacts. Through higher education I am hoping to learn how to tackle this problem and implement financial proficiency not only for children and teenagers but also make it widely available and free for all adults who wish to benefit from this education. We have many programs in the state of California that aid low income families so that they can meet their everyday needs. If we do not make financial education programs widely available how are these families expected to eventually exit these programs and become self-sufficient? Without educated consumerism, families can find themselves trapped in the cycle of poverty.
While providing individuals and families with the resources needed for financial literacy it will be increasingly important to also implement cognitive behavioral therapy that will aid them during this transitional period. Changing the way people view and navigate economic difficulties can be stressful and create a level of anxiety that is associated with dramatic change. Even when change is for the better it can still manifest into feelings of stress and uncertainty. I am hoping to learn how to help people through the anxiety of uncertainty so that they are able to approach and navigate their daily lives with collected confidence. I’m interested in learning about classic ways to approach anxiety and also new techniques and therapies such as the recent research on psychedelic therapies, mindfulness and nature-based therapies.
While my background and areas of interest might seem unorthodox, I am hoping that the experience and knowledge I’ve gained within the workforce has prepared me to seek higher education. Through being in the positions I have been granted in life I have been able to gain skills that are necessary when implementing change and facing a career of helping others; such as maintaining boundaries, possessing the ability to be empathetic in stressful situations and being able to plan and manage time and money far into the future. My experiences have inspired me to drive to fight for implementing resonating, impactful change, to ultimately help in the fight towards propelling the progress and growth of our global society and community forward. Should I be accepted I am certain that I will gain exemplary knowledge and skill to become a future leader in the field of social work through the forward thinking, brilliant minds of the professors at X University.