CRISIS YOUTH PEER SUPPORT SPECIALIST | marion county
Pamela was born and raised in Oregon. She grew up in a small town where she and her friends would play outside until the streetlights came on. For the most part, Pamela had a "normal" family. However, as she got older, realized that things were going on behind closed doors that weren’t “normal" at all. There were untold secrets and a lot of unreported behavior; her grades quickly dropped, and she found herself going down a rabbit hole. Eating disorders, thoughts of suicide, and self-harm became a new normal for Pamela.
While all of this was going on, Pamela's family decided to pack up and move to Mexico, where her stepdad’s family was from, to start a new life. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned, and the move ended up creating more stress and anxiety. Moving to a new country and learning to speak a language that she had only heard occasionally growing up made things a lot harder. After about a year, her family moved back to the US, and Pamela stayed behind to get the best education she could. The stress of being alone in a different country eventually got to her and the bullying from kids only got worse. She went back to not eating and self-harming. Pamela got very sick and needed to return to the US to be with her family.
Once back at home in a house full of secrets, the guilt and shame she'd been carrying finally got to Pamela. She told her mom what had been going on, and instead of showing support, her mom kicked her out and left to Pamela to figure things out on her own. She spent some time couch surfing and living in a camping trailer while she finished high school and earned some early college credits. With the help of a few loved ones, Pamela was able to pull through.
In the back of her mind, Pamela always knew she wanted a family, but with starting from ground zero, it seemed almost impossible. After searching and planning, Pamela decided to join the United States Air Force, which enabled her to do a little bit of traveling. She got out a little early after being sexually assaulted and started to feel herself going back down the rabbit hole. Instead, she chose to focus on exploring her hobbies and interests and reminded herself that she still wanted to have a family. Pamela wrote down her goals and dreams and started checking them off, on by one. She attended Le Cordon Bleu where she received an Associates in Baking and Patisserie and the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago. Her passion for baking and the art of chocolates is a big part of her life, as are her other hobbies such as hiking and kayaking. She also became a mom at the age of 20 and absolutely loves it! She hopes to be the person she needed when she was younger.
While pursuing her passions and being a momma, she came across Youth Era as she was looking for a job. For the first time, she found something that was more than “just” a job, but rather something that had meaning and heart to it. She enjoys working with youth and hopes to inspire them to do more in life. She hopes to remind young people that what they are going through is only temporary. Being at one of your lowest points can either bring you further down or give you motivation to never be there again.
In her free time, Pamela enjoys kayaking, hiking, making truffles and bonbons, and being a mom.