It is with sadness that we announce departure of Erica Wheeler-Dubin, our ArtEsteem Program Manager. Erica has worked with AHC for the past 5 years, and brought an amazing energy and passion to our ArtEsteem program. We wish Erica the best of wishes as she works towards her dreams of becoming a Counseling Psychologist!
My journey with AHC began in December 2011 when a friend asked me to volunteer and phone bank for the 13th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. I sat in the front room diligently working through the call list, with nearly 20 djembe drums and student artwork holding the space. At the time, I knew very little of the powerful connections I would make and profound impact the people and vision would have on me in the following years. However, in that moment, I felt driven, with a purpose and also at home.
Throughout my time, AHC has supported my other passion, playing soccer. I was able to travel to play professionally in Sweden and Italy and still return to AHC to pick up where I had left off. Right now, life has pulled me in another direction yet again, but this time to play footvolley (a popular sport in Brazil) that will be in the Olympics for the first time this August, as well as returning to school which will further my dream of becoming a Counseling Psychologist. Afterwards (and perhaps during), I hope to contribute again with a new set of skills to the AHC and Oakland community that has proven itself to be one of the most passionate, diverse, open-hearted and minded, determined, wise, and deeply rooted groups of people that I have ever known in my young life.
AHC's work is direly needed for everyone: youth and their families, artists, educators, residents, law enforcers, policy makers, the community and the world, especially in the midst of a rapidly changing Bay Area. The time and effort put forth that is necessary to develop and empower young people and their families that are systemically oppressed by the powers that be, work that AHC has done over the past 27 years, is gravely underestimated. The vision and dream to make AHC's work forever sustainable is truly made possible through the support of individuals who believe in the transformative power of art, community building, and nonviolent communication.
I am deeply grateful and blessed to have played a part.
"Since love is eternal, change need not be viewed as fearful"