Diamond, 23, is a graduate of the New Door’s Employment Program as well as the Education Program, through which she received her high school equivalency. The San Francisco native is currently a senior intern at New Door’s headquarters in the Mission, a position offered only to the highest performing graduates.
As a front desk intern, Diamond is responsible for greeting and checking in all guests and interns, cleaning and organizing the space, and supporting New Door staff during workshops, events, and projects. She is known around the office for her confidence, drive, and handmade birthday cards for New Door staff and interns. Diamond is about to graduate from her year-long position with New Door and plans to go into the medical field and is grateful to the program for giving her the tools she needs to take this next step in her professional journey.
“Diamond is a quiet warrior who has the ability to walk calmly through the many storms and setbacks life can bring. From completing our employment program, working as a youth receptionist and passing her high school equivalency exam, we’ve been able to witness her ability to persist with the support of her family and New Door community. It’s been a great experience to work with Diamond as she knows what she wants to do and makes them happen.” -Diamond’s Case Manager Joel
On her journey to New Door:
I [came] to New Door after having my baby. I didn’t have a high school diploma or a job, and no programs had really worked for me before. My aunt texted me a flyer [about the Employment Program] and I came to the information session knowing I wanted work experience. I saw they had a job at the pet hospital site at that time, and I really wanted to be behind the scenes of animal care.
I received my top choice and got to work at the pet hospital. I was able to see surgeries, tie a surgical knot, and learn all of these amazing skills that I wouldn’t have gotten to do without this program and without work experience. Everybody at the pet hospital was really nice, all the animals were beautiful and sometimes exotic; they primarily took care of dogs and cats. Mostly I restocked, washed towels, sterilized the surgical tools. I was able to learn about different types and sizes of needles, sometimes assisting with bottling medicine. My favorite part was helping to hold the animals when they had to get shots or walking them when they needed exercise.
I knew that New Door also had an education program, so I wanted to complete that and get my diploma. My other goal was to get a future job that would help start my career. My case manager looked into the front desk position as a senior intern for her and I got it the next month after my program graduation!
On her biggest accomplishments:
My biggest accomplishments were completing the Employment Program and passing all five GED tests to receive my diploma. And now [as a senior intern], having people recognize my work and saying they like having me here and that I’m doing a good job. I have this new sense of pride. I feel like I grew a lot in my personality—and that I have been given the opportunity to create more.
Something in the medical field hopefully will be next- there is always a need for people to care for other people. I am trying to get into medical assistance training or phlebotomy training. I just feel like my life is going to move forward from here. I felt like before I wasn’t moving anywhere, like I was stuck at the top of a tower with no steps down, and now I feel like the steps are starting to come down to the bottom, I’m going to reach the ground.
The importance of New Door:
If people are serious about wanting to change their life in a better way, if they feel like their life is stagnant, they need to get to New Door. Time moves quickly and young people need to get moving, because you don’t want to be 30 and without a bank account. I’ve made friends and connections at New Door, and I’m very glad I met these people.