Youth Highlight: Carmen

Navigate Support 

Carmen entered the Navigate program at 17 years old, unemployed, and dropped out of school. The combination of a difficult home life and a severe car accident that totaled her only source of transportation left her struggling with mental health issues and unable to re-engage with education.

With support from the program, she enrolled in a GED program and completed her GED last year. She also began receiving support for her mental health, which helped her better engage with program events and opportunities. 

Community Engagement 

Carmen has been super proactive and attended Wonder Week last summer, participates in Wonder Wednesdays, took DevNW classes, and was an active youth leader in getting the Connected Lane County garden plot up and running in the spring. Carmen’s confidence and professional skills have grown greatly in her time with the Navigate program. Everyone she works with has nothing but positive things to say about her.

Work-Based Learning Opportunities 

She has participated in multiple work-based learning experiences in areas that apply to her overall career goals of working in sustainable farm-to-table agriculture. Her work experience at Food for Lane County’s Youth Farm was so successful that they created a paid job opportunity just for her for the following season. A second work experience at Positive Community Kitchen led to her becoming a youth leader, which allowed her to participate in our Wonder Wednesday cooking class as a teacher instead of a participant! 

Career Paths 

Carmen is still employed at the Youth Farm and is excited to continue her career path in agriculture and sustainability. She was able to purchase a vehicle and is now saving up for her first apartment. While she officially exited the Navigate program earlier this year, she is still an active youth member at Connected Lane County. She has recently joined our new Youth Advisory Council, which aims to amplify young voices in our community.