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Superintendent Dr. Bob Nelson, Extraordinary Teacher Elisa Grijavla, Student Celebrities, and Learning To Love Ourselves--The Art of Self--Love.

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Published by Impact Media & Publishing, 2019-04-27 11:10:06

The Extraordinary Issue

Superintendent Dr. Bob Nelson, Extraordinary Teacher Elisa Grijavla, Student Celebrities, and Learning To Love Ourselves--The Art of Self--Love.

Keywords: Fresno Unified School District,FUSD,,IMPACT,The Alliance Magazine Workshop,AMW,Vince Bailey,Extraordinary,The Extraordinary Issue,Dr Bob Nelson,Dr Robert G. Nelson,Otis

Super Teacher: Elisa Grijalva Page18

Our Stories... Our Voice. Volume V. Issue I

Got To Do
With It?

Take Our Quiz On

ThePage 29 To Find Out!

Also Inside
SDur.peRroibnetretndGe. nNtelson
Youth Activation
Max Holliday
Brother Loto


We help students
develop personal behavior
and academic skills that will
lead to success in the classroom,
career and adult lives.

Department of Prevention
& Intervention Mentor Office

1350 M St. | Fresno, CA 93712


A Note From The Editor EDITORIAL
Editor in Chief: Darin Diep
Thank you for picking up this issue of Alliance Senior Editor: Denise Silva
Magazine. This is my third year with the work-
shop and of all the issues I’ve helped to produce, Writer: Jacqueline Pastor
“The Extraordinary Issue” is by far my favorite. Writer: Elexis Rodriguez

This issue contains a variety of stories and photo- DESIGN AND PHOTOGRAPHY
graphs that highlight the amazing people within our Designer: Cruz Soto
school district and the greater Fresno community.
Our Extraordinary Students package (page 8) will Photography: Seth Villanueva
introduce you to students who serve as shining ex- Photography: Isabel Serna Vallejo
amples of what is possible when you work hard and
believe in yourself. On page eighteen you’ll meet FRESNO UNIFIED
Mrs. Elisa Grijalva, an educator whose extraordinary SCHOOL DISTRICT
passion for teaching leaves a lasting impression on all who encounter her. We are
also pleased to present Brother Loto (page 22), a Fresno man driven by a relentless BOARD
determination to offer hope to youth around the world. Our reporting on the Youth Claudia Cazares Area 6, President
Activation program (page 6) shines light on a remarkable initiative led by even
more remarkable students who are committed to assuring student voices are heard Carol Mills, J.D. Area 5, Clerk
throughout the district. Of course, any discussion regarding excellence in FUSD Keshia Thomas Area 1
wouldn’t be complete without a look at the man at the center of it all. Superinten- Terry Slatic Area 7
dent Dr. Bob Nelson is known district wide for his interminable passion to create Veva Islas Area 4
brighter futures for the students of Fresno Unified. In Bob the Builder (page 12), he
sits down with Alliance Magazine and shares his vision for our success. Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas Area 2
Valerie F. Davis Area 3
However, my favorite section is the Self-Love package, beginning on page
twenty–four. We dedicated this section to the importance of learning how to love ADMINISTRATION
ourselves and recognizing everyone’s extraordinary qualities and gifts. I am a true Dr. Robert G. Nelson
believer that every human being is uniquely and wonderfully made, and it brings
me joy to have a section to remind us of that. Superintendent

Alliance Magazine is nothing without its readers. I would like to sincerely thank MENTORING OFFICE
you—on behalf of everyone who has contributed to this magazine—for investing Darrin Person Manager II
your time to read The Extraordinary Issue. It is more than a compilation of stories
that shine a spotlight on people who deserve it. This issue also recognizes the Judy Reynoso Mentor Facilitator
extraordinary qualities within everyone, including ourselves. Darryl Du’Chene Men’s and Women’s Alliance

Enjoy, Project Manager

Darin Diep Fernanda Jusaino-Gomez Community Education

Share your thoughts Specialist - Peer Mentoring

Alliance Magazine is committed to telling the stories you want to read. We want Maxine Dadoorian Community Education Specialist/
to hear from you. Tell us about students, teachers and community leaders that
impact your life for the better. Scan the QR code to send an e-mail to: Women’s Alliance Facilitator
Publisher: Alliance Magazine, c/o Impact Publishing @ [email protected].
Manuel Vidal Men’s Alliance Facilitator
Amanda Escalera Mentor Office Assistant III


Publisher & Creative Director
Vince Bailey

[email protected]

Managing Editor
Christopher Bailey

Alliance Magazine ©2019 is published by Impact
Publishing 1840 Shaw Ave. Ste: 105-36, Clovis, CA
93611 for Fresno Unified School District and Men’s
and Women’s Alliance 1350 M Street, Fresno, CA
93721 All rights are reserved. No part of this magazine
may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means without the written consent of the publisher.
Unsolicited manuscripts, letters and/or photographs will
not be returned and are considered the property of Impact
Publishing to be treated as unconditionally assigned
for publication, copyright purposed and for use in any
publication or brochure and subject to Alliance Magazine
and/or Impact Publishing’s right to edit and comment.
Volume V. Issue 1

A Sneak Peek...





...A Sneak Peek Continued




This is Us

Photos: Denise Silva, Jacqueline Pastor, Elexis Rodriguez and Isabel Serna Vallejo by Seth Villanueva. Seth Villanueva by Darin Diep Isabel Serna Vallejo has major goals. Jacqueline Pastor is hard working and Cruz Soto is a junior at Edison High
She hopes to attend CSU Monterey doesn’t give up when things become School. He’s a nerd, scientist, and
where she can study a wide variety difficult. She’s also extremely clumsy, self proclaimed technologist. He
of potential careers such as: photog- so please watch out. Jackie spends her hopes to one day become an astro-
raphy, interior design and architec- time watching The Office and That physicist for NASA. Coming from
ture. As an added bonus, the school 70’s Show on Netflix––– maybe even a family with a younger sister, he
allows her to explore her interest in a little too much. When she isn’t busy constantly confronts the challenges
the art of arrow shooting with their watching three years worth of shows in of having fun and getting the job
archery club! Isabel’s constant pursue one day, she enjoys dancing Folklorico done, with a lot of overlap!
of new interests will be the driving and swimming. After graduating this
force for her future success. year, Jackie will attend Fresno State to Elexis Rodriguez is a 17 year old
get her DPT (Doctor of Physical Ther- junior at Hoover high school. She
Denise Silva is a kind soul who ap- apy). On the weekend she volunteers is a super sweet, polite, and funny
preciates a good loaf of bread. She at Community Regional Medical person. She hopes to one day be a
has a billion skirts yet doesn’t own Center where she plans to one-day paramedic or anything within the
a single pair of pants. After college, work as a physical therapist. medical field. Elexis comes from a
she plans to put her degree to use as a really big family of seven brothers
trauma nurse. She is heavily involved Seth Villanueva is a golfer by day and and four sisters. She loves her fam-
in her church, and volunteers her time photographer by night. He is a little ily more than anything in this world.
religiously (ba dum tss!) by helping indecisive on which he likes more. Her five dogs Tubby, Whiskey, Nute,
anywhere she is needed. She also tells Some weeks he wants to be the next Darla, and Applewood-Smoked Ba-
bad jokes. Often, her only goal while Tiger Woods, then, after a bad week con, are also extremely important to
walking up a flight of stairs is not to of golf he decides to become the best her, even though they drive her crazy
fall. If she could bring back any celeb- photographer in the world. Seth also sometimes. Her family and dogs are
rity, it would be the tall glass of water, enjoys sleeping. Sleep is his number all she needs to live a happy life.
the one—and only—Johnny Ca$h. one friend. Most days you can catch
him in his natural habitat, lying in 5
bed, probably all day long if he is not
out on the nine. Go follow him @
seth_villanueva_photography to see
what he’s up to!

Our Community


What happens when school administrators and teachers step
aside and allow students to take over? They get stuff done.

Written by Darin Diep
Photography by Seth Villanueva

The Hechinger Report declares the United States amongst the bottom of 35 industrialized countries when consid-
ering education. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the U.S. is
ranked second-to-last in literacy amongst industrialized nations and last in numeracy. Education Week reported
that, “U.S. education is a ‘C’ student,” based on annual ranking’s of state and national performances. Statistic
after statistic all show one thing: our current system is not working. With more and more data in recent years showing
America’s educational shortcomings, people are starting to realize there is a need for change. Part of this change must begin
with schools adjusting to the needs of their students. That is why a push for Youth Activation has been created. It is hinged
on the idea that collaboration and teamwork between students and faculty can effectively address critical issues that affect
our schools. It was this belief that inspired the launch of the Youth Activation program in Fresno Unified School District.
The Youth Activation Summit was held at Facebook headquarters in April of 2018. Sixteen school districts were selected to attend.
Two students were sent to represent each district. Also in attendance were leaders in the U.S. who have worked tirelessly to improve
school systems in their districts. A collective group of 60 passionate students and leaders were brought together to learn how to
advocate for the implementation of student voices in district decisions. The goal was to use the knowledge aquired at the summit to
create change. It was this experience that led Donte Jones and I to bring Youth Activation back to the Central Valley.
Upon returning from the summit, Donte and I assembled a team of student leaders that spanned across the district. These
students demonstrate both leadership capabilities and strong moral character. After meeting every week over the summer
of 2018, the new team launched the Youth Activation Program with our very first project, Bridging the Gaps. Bridging the
Gaps is a project that aims to promote relationships between students and educators in the classroom. Through a presentation
given to teachers at each school, our goal was to remind educators of the weight of their positions and outline ways in which
they can positively impact students. After asking students from Edison, Bullard, Hoover, and Roosevelt, to share impactful
experiences that they have had with teachers—both positive and negative— we compiled the footage into a video that we
shared with the principal’s of each high school. By sharing student perspectives, Youth Activation is attempting to bridge the
perception gap. We strive to inspire educators to connect with students. We are extending the olive branch and asking educa-

Story and Photography
by Jacques Guidry

Top row, from L to R: Cynamin Newell, Karen Carillo, Darin Diep, and Donte Jones Bottom row, from L to R: Denise Silva, Marione Tsegay, Lena Covita, and Eustacio Alamilla

tors to work with us as we move forward with our plans to potential solutions. Primary issues that have been discussed
improve the relationship between students and faculty at include: a lack of preparation for the transition in and out
our schools. of high school, the lack of knowledge of available resources
Since beginning our project, we have produced a pilot presen- offered to students, the relationship struggles in the classroom
tation with film recorded at each of the schools represented in between students and teachers, and the need to prepare youth
our program. With support from our district’s Superintendent, with life skills (filing taxes, maintaining a home, etc.)
Dr. Bob Nelson, as well as FUSD’s Mentor Coordinator, Dar- Over the summer, Donte, myself, and our team of awesome
rin Person, Restorative Practices Manager, Erica Hasenbeck, leaders worked diligently to create change in our district
and students from around the district, Bridging the Gaps through the Bridging the Gaps project. This summer, many of
will be implemented in the near future. In fact, Keith Frome, us will be aging out of the program and Youth Activation will
the CEO of Peer Forward, was so inspired by our presenta- be seeking new passionate students with a vision for change.
tion that he is using it as a model for a charter school that he If you know a high school student who demonstrates
founded in Buffalo, New York. strong moral character, leadership potential, and most
Youth Activation is about student empowerment, student of all, passion, please contact us! We are seeking leaders
initiative, collaboration, and positive change. What makes this from around the district who can contribute their own
program truly unique is that it is wholly led by students and unique qualities and skills. Please visit
supported by faculty. Youth Activators work closely with advi- com/view/youthactivation to fill out an application or
sors to address the needs of high school students and identify refer someone.


Madeleine Fischer

By Cruz Soto
Photography By Isabel Serna Vallejo
Who: Madeleine Fischer is a senior at
Edison High School who has pushed
the boundaries of academic success and
has become a pivotal voice for social
justice in her community. In addition
to being the top ranked Academic
Decathlete in the Central Valley and
competing at the Sacramento State Cham-
pionship in April, Maddy is on track to
graduate with the highest GPA possible,
4.32. In addition to her academics, she
has a profound love for forging a more
inclusive world.

Why: Her participation and leadership
in California’s Gender and Sexualities
Alliance Network (GSA Network) as
well as in Edison High’s GSA Club has
provided many closeted LGBTQ+ in-
dividuals a safe environment to accept
their identities and to even come out
to friends, families, and others. Maddy
believes that even if a problem seems
insurmountable, it is always better to
speak up a regardless of how difficult it
may be to overcome.



Trinity Mikel

By Darin Diep
Photography By Isabel Serna Vallejo
Who: Star student, talented performer,
or outspoken youth? Take your pick,
Trinity Mikel is all of these and more.
Trinity has participated in Forensics
Speech and Debate since the 7th grade.
She recently placed 2nd in Dramatic
Interpretation in the Valley Champi-
onships, and continued on as a State
competitor. She is also involved in Mock
Trial, and won an award in just her first
year of competition. Trinity is also a
Polynesian dancer and an actress.
Why: Trinity does it ALL. She is a speak-
er, an actress, a dancer, an academic, and
most importantly a person of high char-
acter. Although it is not uncommon to
find youth involved in their communities
or their schools, what sets Trinity apart
is her integrity and kind heart. Trinity is
always smiling and laughing and creating
a atmosphere of positivity and joy.



Nancy Alonzo

By Denise Silva
Photography By Seth Villanueva
Who: Nancy Alonzo is a senior at Design
Science; a school that offers students a
dual enrollment program that allows them
to complete high school and college class-
es simultaneously. While she admits that
being a high school and college student
comes with pressure, Nancy’s tenacity
and grit gives her the ability to set herself
apart. The challenges she’s faced have paid
off. This June she will be graduating with
both her high school diploma and an AA
in Liberal Arts.
Why: Nancy attributes her determina-
tion to her father’s success in overcoming
poverty as a child. “People gave up on
him but he’s taught me not to settle.”
Nancy plans on pursuing her Bachelors of
Arts in biology at Sacramento State and
ultimately becoming a pediatrician.


Joshua Cookson

By Elexis Rodriguez and Denise Silva
Photography By Seth Villanueva
Who: Joshua Cookson is a junior at
Hoover High School who competes in
water polo, swimming and in his spare
time, rock climbing.
Why: Joshua is dedicated to becoming
the best version of himself. His desire for
self improvement is what sets him apart
from others, and his determination has
led to his success as both a person and
an athlete. Joshua says, “I just want to be
the best me I can be.” After high school
Joshua will join the United State Naval
Academy. The ultimate goal for him is to
join the Navy and travel the world. He is
planning to major in history while serving
his country. His life motto is, “you need
to be able to accept every loss and turn it
into a victory.”


Can we fix it?
Yes We Can.

Interviewed by Rosa Martinez
Photography by Jovani Negrere

Story by Jacqueline Pastor

Photography by Jacques Guidry


n every organization there is someone at the top charged with leading
and shaping the environment and culture. That person is responsible for
outlining a vision that will lead to development, growth and success for

I everyone that he/she leads. Great leaders lead by example. Their direc-

tives aren’t expressed through memos or mandates, they allow their actions to
demonstrate their desires. And when an organization is helmed by this kind of
leader a funny thing starts to happen. The people within the organization start
to take on the characteristics of the chief.

BobthBe uilder

At Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) that complicated pie charts. Bob Nelson’s plan is simple.
leader is Superintendent Dr. Robert G. Nelson, He’s decided to just be himself. “Being Bob Nelson is
or Bob as he is commonly referred throughout the what got me here, he says. There’s no point in try-
Central Valley. Dr. Nelson has been in his role as ing now to become something I’m not.” Being Bob
District Superintendent since September 2017, yet he Nelson means continuing to follow one simple phi-
has a long history of serving the students here. Over losophy, put kids first. “I got into this because I want
the past 23 years Dr. Nelson has held roles within the to support kids. I’ve been doing that my whole life.”
district including teacher, vice principal, principal, In addition to the more than 74,000 students within
human resources administrator and chief of staff. the Fresno Unified School District, Bob and his wife
His appointment to the top job is unprecedented at Tiffany have seven amazing children ranging from
FUSD. In the past, the School Board would conduct 22 years to 3 year old twins. They have always felt
searches far and wide, oftentimes outside of Califor- called to support children, including serving as foster
nia, to find candidates. Bob Nelson is the first inter- parents, adopting 4 of their 7 children.
nal employee in more than 30 years to get chosen for
the role. “I have a tremendous level of responsibil- Dr. Nelson’s message to the administrators, principal’s
ity to show everyone that you can rise through the and teachers at FUSD, as well as to the parents of
district and lead it. There is a lot of responsibility on the students he leads, has been constant. “We must ensure
me to do that well,” he says. His plan to succeed in that our kids are always at the forefront of every decision
this role isn’t spelled out on multiple spreadsheets or we make.” His lead by example style means he doesn’t

just talk the talk, he’s walking the walk as well. “Bob Nelson leads
with kindness in mind. Last year my class sent him some Disney
socks and wrote him a letter to congratulate him on getting his
doctorate. He could have just e-mailed me or sent a letter through
the district mail, but no he showed up to my class to meet them
and thanked them in person. That’s the type of leader that will
change a district. He is someone I know I can count on and will
advocate for what’s best for the kids,” said Fresno Unified Teacher
of the Year Carlanda Marie Williams. For Dr. Nelson, walking
the walk is easy because his message is one that he believes in and
has been spreading throughout his whole career. He wants his
students to understand that education is the most powerful tool
they have to change the course of their lives. “It’s hard, says Dr.
Nelson. The reality is 90% of the 74,000 students in our district
are living below the poverty line. But that isn’t the hard part. The
hard part is not allowing that statistic to become the over arching
message. That cannot be the thing that defines us.” As students,
we often hear adults talking about the socioeconomic challenges
in our community. “I’m trying to inject the socio-emotional piece
into everything we do,” says Bob. My ultimate job is to make sure
that every child graduates high school and is college ready and
proficient in the areas needed. The issue is how to get there. If I
can create a situation in which every single person wants to be
here, work hard, and they find value here—then that will ulti-
mately change the perspective that students have regarding their
education and they will be more willing to go to school.”

As with all great superintendent’s—the ones that lead by exam-
ple—a funny thing starts to happen. The district’s they lead
and the communities they serve start to take on the attitude and
characteristic’s of their leader. “Superintendent Nelson’s genuine
care for students and employees, and his philosophy of uncondi-
tional positivity are energizing the entire community. I’ve witnessed
how much Dr. Nelson believes in the potential of every student,
and this belief is at the core of his leadership in Fresno Unified
School District,” says Dr. Elmear O’ Farrell, Superintendent of Clovis
Unified School District. If the past 18 months is any indication,
Dr. Robert G. Nelson is the right leader for where we are right now.
He is a living example for the students in this district that educa-
tion, hard work, and dedication pays off. The best part of all is that
he’s advocating for us, the students of FUSD.





Photography by SETH VILLANUEVA


When you hear stories about kids who have been kicked out of
school or have gone to juvenile hall you may think, oh that’s too
bad he/she had such a bright future. Well, Max Holliday is defying
stereotypes and learning from the mistakes he’s made. Max was kicked out of
school and went to juvie when he was thirteen years old. Today, he is eighteen
and boasts a 3.0 GPA. Max is getting ready to finish high school and head off
to the United States Air Force.

Q. You started out on the wrong path but managed to successfully turn
your life around. Are you proud of the person you’ve become?

A. Yes. I see myself now as someone who has a future. I have grown a lot
since I was younger and I’ve become more focused with the tasks in front
of me. I go to school, then work till 11 p.m. After work I complete my
homework. I repeat that every day and I keep saving my money.

Q. What do you believe was the catalyst for you changing your life?
A. After I got out of juvie I knew I couldn’t stay on this path. The whole

experience made me want to do better. I knew I wanted to build a better
life for myself.

Q. If you could identify one person who’s had a major influence on you
who would that be?

A. My Papa (grandfather) for sure. He served in the Air Force and was a very
determined person. He worked hard for 40 years before he unfortunately
passed away of liver cancer. Even though I never got to meet him personal-
ly, I’ve heard so many stories about him when I was a kid. He’s the reason
I chose to join the Air Force.

Q. What does self love mean to you?
A. Self love means doing the things that make you happy.


Elisa Grijalva

Few memories provoke the same strong feelings of nostalgia as thinking about THAT teacher.
You know, the one who had a meaningful and positive impact on your life and who –– if you
could–– you’d take with you through every level of your education. Maybe it was their subject
matter, or perhaps it was the aesthetic of the classroom. But more than likely it was simply their style.
Their relatability, their care and willingness to treat you with respect created an environment of inclu-
sivity that you wish you received from every teacher.
For many girls and boys that have passed through Tehipite Middle School that teacher is Elisa Grijalva or
Mrs. G. As a teacher at Tehipite for the last fifteen years Mrs. Grijalva has seen it all —from the low’s of
witnessing poverty and gang violence —to the high’s of seeing students embrace education as a vehicle to
rise above their circumstances. Mrs. G. sat down with us to reflect on her role in the lives of her students,
and shared her views on the significance of a good education.

Interviewed by Sang Vang • Edited by Chris Bailey

Photography by Seth Villanueva



When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
I always wanted to be a teacher. Growing up my grandpa didn’t know
how to read or write, so as a kid it made me want learn how. At a young
age, I learned on my own that when you read you can travel to different
places and meet new people. It opens up a whole new world. Growing up
I didn’t always have teachers that emphasized that. I saw that not all of
them cared. I knew that I wanted to be different and share those experi-
ences with other students.

Obviously you value education. Where does your passion stem from?
I think education—after your family—is the most important thing in
your life. It changes your life and I am evidence of that. Education al-
lows you to pursue your dreams. It allows you to find a job that you love
to come to everyday.

How do you keep your students engaged and excited to learn
throughout the school year?
I like to use things that inspire my students. Things that they are never
going to forget. I use relevant pop culture to make lessons relatable and
keep students engaged. I grab their interest and from there I’m able to
turn that curiosity into lesson plans centered around reading, writing, and
speaking. I love to reference authors, like Tupac, as well as leaders like
Dr. King, Mala Yousafzai and Bob Marley. It shows them that ordinary
people can change the world. I see that in my students. They see these
people and say, ‘If that person can do it then I can too.’

How would you define your role as an educator? What lessons
do you hope your students retain after they’ve moved on from
your class?
My job is to prepare my students for life. It’s why I teach poems like
Tupac’s The Rose That Grew From Concrete. We are all roses and we’ve
all been through something. Life isn’t always perfect, this neighborhood
is not perfect and the way we are treated is sometimes less than ideal.
All of us, no matter who you are have to go through obstacles to be who
we are now. Learning from those obstacles and using them to grow as
people is what I hope they hold on to.

What is the most gratifying part of your job?
Watching my former students mature into wonderful young women
and men. I have a former student that is currently in college working
towards her teaching credentials. I have also been to graduation’s—
both high school and college, as well as weddings of former students. I
still keep in contact with most of them. I’m now even starting to get the
brothers, sisters, and cousins of kids that I taught years ago and that has
been really cool.


Interviewed by Darin Diep
Photography by Jovani Negrere

Brother Loto



At just sixteen years old Brother Loto found himself face to face with a shotgun. The blast, that
could’ve took his life, took his eyesight instead. While some might see this as a tragedy, Brother
Loto has a different take. “God only let the devil close the eyes on my face just to open the eyes
of my heart.” Brother Loto is beloved within Fresno community and around the world. He has
overcome trials and tribulations on the path to self–love. Today he and his wife Maria travel around the
world spreading a message of love and healing to anyone and everyone he encounters. Brother Loto may
have lost his sight to gang violence, but he sees more clearly now than ever.

Q. How did your involvement in gangs begin?
A. It comes down to identity. You might think you know who you are but I will tell you, you are who you

hang out with. My Nana said, “You know you better be careful, because if you keep sleeping with dogs,
one day you’re going to wake up with fleas.” I got so mad at her. I said, ‘You’ll never catch me go-
ing out catching their fleas.’ Next thing you know I am waking up, I am itching, I am scratching, I am
smoking, and now I am even drinking. My Nana was right. I’d become what I thought I wouldn’t.

Q. Where does involvement in gangs lead?
A. There are only three places you end up when you get involved in that lifestyle. Jail, dead, or halfway

between. You could find yourself like me, laying there in the ICU (intensive care unit).

Q. Was there a turning point in your life?
A. One day I came face to face with a shotgun that changed my life forever. Up to that point I lived so

hard and I poured everything into chasing this dream, which was to be this big gang banger. I was
blasted in the face, and I woke up the next day blind.

Q. When you’re out in the community speaking to parents what is your main message?
A. Parents, do not give up on your kids. You are the best hope your kids have. We as a community have

to do a better job at caring about each other. We have to do a better job at noticing people. These kids
are joining gangs because nobody else notices them except gang leaders. It is all of our responsibility,
we’ve got to care enough. The only way we can do this, is together.

Q. What advice do you have for youth?
A. Young people you are worth more than you know. I do not care who told you that you are a loser or

that you are not going to amount to anything. You are somebody great. You are going somewhere
great, to do something great. The only thing worse than dying for nothing is living for nothing. You
have to understand you will make it.




Ou rselves

S elf-love is deep-rooted in all of us and is critical to our success and well-being. It
is however among the most difficult attributes for us to sustain. When we act as our
toughest critic, we allow self-doubt and insecurity to creep up and override our self-
confidence. Even the most self-assured people need reminders of their awesomeness.
The truth is, it’s easy to say, “love yourself” to someone. Showing them how to get there is
a much more difficult task. But difficult has never scared us at Alliance Magazine. The more
difficult the challenge, the more excited we are to tackle it.
From the research we’ve gathered and the advice we received, one thing is certain, the journey to
loving yourself begins with YOU. This section represents our effort to help you along that pathway.
From daily affirmations and inspiring video, to tips from people—young and old. We provide the
baby steps you need to begin your journey.


Accept You rself Before
You W reck You rself

By Denise Silva

How can you even begin to love yourself

I am riddled with fear for the future.
I am insignificant to everyone.
I am not worth anyone’s time.

Work harder. Try harder. Better luck next time.
But your mind distorts the words,

All you hear is you’re not good enough.
Told by those who say they love you the most
and more often by those who have never held a conversation with you
Beginning to love yourself starts with acceptance
Changing your mentality starts with looking in the mirror.

It’s up to you to change. You can change. There is nothing stopping you.

You are not your past,
You are not a mistake.
You are here for a reason.
You may not know that reason yet, but you’re going to be great.

You’re breaking the chains, they are your feelings, you control them.
For too long have you done what others wanted.
Time to mend your broken heart
Today you choose happiness for yourself .

I will love myself. Simply because I can. With my whole heart. Without fear, With the power I need,
Because I know I am worth it.

And I will be proud of who I am, who I have grown to be.

Love yourself because you deserve to be loved in your entirety.
Love yourself because you have the power to love yourself.
Love yourself because you are love.
Love yourself because you can.
Love yourself because you should.

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Experts say that the first step to loving yourself is being able to appreciate the good things in your
life instead of focusing on the negatives. Appreciating those things starts with being grateful and
learning how to say thank you to those who love and support you. Our family, friends, teachers,
neighbors and mentors make up the network of people that keep us grounded. It is easy to sometimes take
them for granted. Below is an easy way to send a thank you to someone who has helped you become the
person you are today.

Dear _____________________________,

First, let me begin by acknowledging that this letter should’ve been written a long time ago. Saying thank you
isn’t always easy, but it is something that I’m learning to become better at. So here it goes. Thank you for all the times
you had my back. Knowing that someone is there to celebrate with me when things go right or pick me up when I fall
makes it easier for me to keep getting back up and trying again. Even when it feels like the whole world is against me,
I know that you’re in my corner and that gives me the confidence to carry on.

Cut Along The Dotted Lines Thank you for the time you ____________________________________________________________
___________________________________. I recognize that you don’t have to do the things you do for me. I
might not have shown it at the time but I am grateful. Thank you for giving me the tools I’ve needed to learn
and develop. As a teenager going through puberty, I know I can be emotional sometimes—maybe even a little
grouchy. The point is, I’m thankful for your patience. I’m getting my life together and you are a big part of the
reason why. I have you to thank for helping me become the person I am today.

As I begin to start my own journey, I recognize that I am transforming into a strong and independent adult
who has the confidence to head out on my own. I can do this knowing that you’ll be there to help me when I
need it, and to cheer me on along the way.

With lots of love,




Baby Steps

By Isabel Serna Vallejo

Learning to appreciate and accept who you are is one of the most gratifying experiences you can have. However, self-love
is a subject many of us are uncomfortable talking about. Learning to love yourself is a journey and every journey begins
with the first step. Baby steps! You don’t have to have all of the answers. The truth is, none of us do. I went on a mission
to bag up some tips to share with you. Students, teachers, parents and friends we’re asked to tell us about the ways they
practice self-love. Below are a few of the best responses we got back.

• I never talk bad about myself. No matter how sad or upset I feel I always continue to tell myself that I’m
worth it and I matter. Even if I don’t feel loved at that particular moment I remind myself that I am.

• I try to get plenty of rest, hang out with positive people, and remember that Jesus loves me.
• I take a couple minutes out of my day to appreciate and applaud myself for the things I’ve accomplished

and learned that day. I always try to be the best version of myself.
• I usually write something every day, a little message that gives me a reason to feel good.
• I tell myself that I am perfectly and wonderfully made, and wholly loved for who I am by my Creator.
• I usually journal my feelings as a way to let everything out. This way those feelings don’t eat away at me.
• Have self respect. I don’t settle for less than what I deserve.
• I try to see the positivity in everything, even in the darkest hours. I see it as a lesson and stepping stone to

being better, not only as a person but as a friend to others.
• I like to practice being comfortable in what I wear. I also like to have some time for myself to reflect on

the previous week and just relax.
• Stop over thinking. Breathe deeply. Do something new that scares you (in a good way), and just be you.
• Going to my room to read or listen to music is something I like to do when I

feel like things are becoming overwhelming. It’s a way for me to escape the
pressures of what I’m feeling and remind myself that tomorrow will be a better
day. It also allows me to clear my mind and shut the world out for a little while.


Self Love

Loving yourself is essential to your personal growth, the fulfillment of your dreams, and to developing healthy and happy relation-
ships. Most of us think we do a good a job of practicing self-love; but how can we really be sure we’re givng ourselves the proper
amount of care and attention we need? This quiz will help you discover how much self-love you exercise and provide tips to help
in areas where you need improvement. Answer the 10 questions below by circling Yes or No.

When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? Yes No
Do you care about yourself as much as you do others? Yes No
Do you forgive yourself when you make a mistake? Yes No
Is it easy for you to stand up for yourself? Yes No
Do you surround yourself with positive and supportive people? Yes No
Do you stay calm in stressful situations? Yes No
Are you willing to accept constructive criticism? Yes No
Do you take time to recognize your accomplishments? Yes No
Are you open to accepting help when you need it? Yes No
Do you trust yourself when making decisions? Yes No

Congratulations on taking the first steps along your journey to loving yourself. You should be proud! Go back and count how
many times you circled Yes to calculate your score, then continue reading to further your journey!

You are on your way to learning to love yourself. It all starts with recognizing your gifts and contributions, and remembering
that your value is defined by YOU. Surround yourself with supportive people who want to see you succeed. Open yourself up
to receiving and accepting help. Practice reciting daily affirmations to remind yourself of your excellence. Lastly, release nega-
tive thoughts by embracing optimism and positivity.

You are learning to trust your yourself. You understand that you are worthy of love and joy. Continue to surround yourself with posi-
tive people who help to bring out the best in you.

You’re halfway there! The love you have for yourself is remarkable. Continue to stay positive and allow yourself the space to learn and grow.

Amazing! You are doing a great job of listening to your inner voice and loving yourself. Keep up the good work. Always re-
member that you are capable of achieving whatever you put your mind to.

Jazmine Herna
Senior, Hoover High School
As told to Denise Silva
Photography by Seth Villanueva

30 30

andez On the surface Jazmine Hernandez seems like your
typical high school senior. As this year’s class
prepares to graduate in June ––like many of her
peers–– she has shifted her focus to college, where she plans
to pursue a career as a traveling nurse. Jazmine hopes that in
doing so she can not only help people but learn about their
cultures while sharing some of her own. However, unlike
many eighteen year old’s Jazmine has put herself in a unique
position in the name of family tradition.

While the majority of her freshman peers will spend their first
year getting acclimated to a new bus schedule, she will cruise
on past the bus stops. Three years ago Jazmine made the deci-
sion to give up her free time and work for something far more
gratifying than a couple of hours on Netflix. It was difficult and
exhausting but it was certainly worth it. Through her employ-
ment at McDonalds she saved up enough money to purchase
herself a car! A 2015 all black Honda Civic to be specific.

In an effort to maintain a family tradition of all black cars,
as well as appease her mother’s wish that she drive something
safe and reliable, Jazmine found the perfect medium. Her
motivation to get the car, however, was rooted in more than
personal satisfaction. When reflecting on what drove her to
keep working towards her goal, Jazmine said that her younger
brother, JT was a big motivation. “I wanted to show him that
hard work pays off, ” said Jazmine “It’s hard but it’s doable.”

As much as she loves her car, she loves the person behind the
wheel even more. “I’m proud of who I see when I look in the
mirror,” says Jazmine. With her positive attitude and strong
work ethic it’s easy to see why. It won’t be long until she
catches up to her next goal and speeds right past it.


The Alliance Creed

We are the Alliance

And, We Accept the Challenge
We have high expectations of ourselves and Alliance peers

We work hard so that we can excel in school and life

We Accept the Challenge

We are respectful to adults, our community, and fellow students
We will not be afraid to ask for help or to support others in need

We Accept the Challenge

We are committed, dedicated, and prepared
We choose to live honorably, responsibly, and
We will not let negativity stop or prevent us from reaching our goals
We accept the challenge to Succeed, Learn, and

to be Career Ready Graduates

We Accept the Challenge

32 32

The Official Magazine of the Fresno Men’s and Women’s Alliance INAUGISUSRUAEL
Spring 2013

AllianceThe Official Magazine of the Fresno Men’s and Women’s Alliance
Our Stories... Our Voice. May 2014

¡Si Se Puede! TBRAOCANCKK Stanley Johnson Spring 2014 Her World summer 2012
Jefferson Vang overcomes the odds Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Career
Fresno Unified Celebrates Emmanuel Mudiay NBN Options You Might Not Have Considered... Until Now! Shabazz
Cesar Chavez Daniel Hamilton inaugural issue Muhammad
Malik Newman National Rankings
Open Doors Rashad Vaughn NBN National Player of the Year
Stephen Volume 3 Issue 1A Fullcourt Press Impact Publication NBN NaTioNaL RaNKiNgs
YouTube welcomes Hoover Zimmerman 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015
H.S. Students Josh Jackson
Thon Maker Plus
Instant impact Josh Perkins
What If College Isn’t
Women’s Alliance Making Right For Me?
A Difference
Manuel Hernandez and the
Q&A Great Science Experiment

Darrin Person
Tyzek Price
Dr. James Aldredge

Also Inside:
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Fresno State University
Perscription For Success

Omie Mills Cormier
Zurich Chatman

grant Jerrett Volume 1 Issue1
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aaron gordon 6258781 462337
Katin Reinhardt/gabe York A Fullcourt Press/Impact Publication
Tyler Dorsey
Pangos all-american camp
Las Vegas Fab 48

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