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Q & A with Sonia Rivera, social entreprenuer helps at-risk youth

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Sonia Rivera (pictured center-back created Youth Genesis to give her more flexibility to help at-risk youth. When working at non-profit organizations, she could not live up to her potential because of the bureaucracy that often comes with 501(c)(3) status. Picture courtesy: Youth Genesis

Sonia Rivera has been working with the youth, families and the community that have been involved with gangs, addictions, and abuse. After more than 15 years of interactions with the troubled youth, Rivera established her own consulting firm called Youth Genesis Consulting. Her company is known throughout the community for enhancing the lives of youth through leadership development, solution focused initiatives that promote self awareness, higher education and professional development.Throughout the years, Rivera has won many awards and recognitions for her service to the community which includes the Community Service Award honored by NHPO in 2003 and the 100 Women in Leadership Award in 2009.

What is Youth Genesis Consulting?

Youth Genesis works with at risk youth to prevent dropout and to teach them leadership development skills. We work with students that are at risk of dropping from school to figure out what is going on in their home and at school that is preventing their academic success. The leadership development program teaches the students skills to enter the professional workplace. Youth Genesis also focuses on training youth to enter adulthood with the civic responsibility to vote and to stay active in their communities.

How did Youth Genesis come about?

SR: By looking beyond the issues that the students might have and recognizing their abilities and strengths. I did a leadership group with kids that were gang-involved, and they rose to the challenge. If you challenge them in a different way, you set high expectations for them, and you teach them how to exercise their voice in a positive and appropriate way you realize that these kids have leadership capabilities. Also my daughter has inspired me because she has gone to many groups with me where she is always learning. She is surrounded by this professional environment. In a way she is becoming a young professional and she can adapt to any situations.

What are Youth Genesis Goals?

SR: Provide support to troubled youth and to assure them that they can go to college and that they can have a voice in their community.

Are you satisfied with Youth Genesis outcomes?

SR: Absolutely, Youth Genesis is growing exponentially. You don’t realize the impact you have on their life’s until they come back and tell you their accomplishments. The feeling is very rewarding.

Where can students reach you?

They can call the number 832-790-9104 or the website youthgenesisconsulting.com

 

By: David Colon

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