Transitions Advocate Supports Graduates
Emi works with graduating senior Armani Florence Crittenton Services added the Transitions Advocate position to the Student and Family Support Program in 2018 as a way to continue to support graduates once they leave the FloCrit…
Florence Crittenton Services added the Transitions Advocate position to the Student and Family Support Program in 2018 as a way to continue to support graduates once they leave the FloCrit Campus. Transitions Advocate Emi Pavia helps graduates navigate resources in the community. “It is important to support the graduates so they have access to the resources that they had while they were here,” says Pavia. “Sometimes it’s just sending them phone numbers or websites that they can look at. Often they genuinely don’t know how to do a lot of things, so I have to do it with them.” Pavia acts as the connector or resource for graduates as they step into life after high school, and teaches them how to become more self-sufficient.
COVID-19 has presented new and additional challenges for recent graduates. Luckily, Pavia has been here to help them. Housing, job searching, and online college classes are the main issues for which she has provided support. “Graduates all want their own places now that they’re 18 and older and can do that,” Pavia notes. “They have families and are trying to live with partners, and have their own space. That’s really hard to do in Denver. If they don’t have a good, steady job, it’s even harder.” Emi collaborates with Family Advocate Madison Caparros to find housing for graduates. Girls take a housing survey with Emi, and Madison connects them with the list of resources she has ready and on hand. Pavia is glad that she can keep young moms connected to the FloCrit Campus after they graduate.
For some of them, the support she provides helps them find stability and structure in their lives after high school, especially during the past year and a half in the ever-changing world of COVID-19. Candi, a graduate of the Class of 2020, is one such mom. Pavia has helped her find housing when she was couch surfing, and connected her with lawyers so she was able to regain custody of her son. “Angelo [Candi’s son] is here at the ECE Center every day. Candi works full-time at Goodwill. She’s making good money,” smiles Pavia. “She’s really grown up so much.”
Post-secondary plans have also proven to be challenging during the last year. Many teen moms who Pavia works with planned to start college right after graduation, but did not feel they would be successful taking classes online. Now, Pavia is encouraging those girls to revisit their college plans. “I was worried because if they take this time off, it’s hard to go back to school, because then they’re making money, a steady income at least,” she says. However, many girls are working at jobs they don’t want to keep for the rest of their lives with bad hours, a long commute, irregular schedules, and, as a result, inconsistent pay checks. Pavia has been helping these graduates spruce up their resumes, and apply for more sustainable jobs. She also encourages them to go back to school or a trade or certification program. Pavia has also been able to connect graduates with job opportunities that come through community members, teaching the girls the power of networking.
Kihara, who graduated with the Class of 2019, has stayed in close contact with Pavia as she navigates life after high school. Kihara went to trade school and is now working as a plumber. “Emi helped me find programs that fit the career I want. She helped me get ahead of the game,” says Kihara. “One requirement for my career was to have a drivers license, and she helped me get it, from driving school to taking me to the DMV. She always checks up on me to see if there’s anything else she can help me with to get my career started.” Pavia has helped Kihara and her fellow graduates access resources to help them succeed that Kihara says they may not be able to find on their own. Kihara appreciates that Pavia helps them find realistic ways to reach their goals, and gives them insight and feedback on the things they are working toward.