Youth Voices: Stephany V.

Youth Leader Stephany V. works year-round with the Chelsea Collaborative through Chelsea Works. This initiative connects high school youth with year-round, intensive workforce development training and hands on internships in Chelsea. Stephany  recently shared about her experience working at the Chelsea Collaborative: 

My name is Stephany Villatoro, and I have grown up in Chelsea. Growing up in in a small apartment with my single mother and my five siblings was hard but we made it through together. My mother grew up in Santo Domingo, Guatemala and came to the United States when she was 21 years old and pregnant with my eldest sister: Karen. As she struggled to meet expectations as a mother, it was hard to adjust, but with the help of her community she made it through and raised hard working adults. The highs and lows of my life have shaped me into the woman that I am. Currently, from my hard work in school, I got accepted to Suffolk University and Fitchburg State University. Every issue for any high school senior is: How am I able to pay my tuition as I come from a low-income family? What is my plan to pay college? I face these questions too, and sometimes we don’t have a plan.

My sister Sindy came into the Chelsea Collaborative when she was 16. She worked in the summers with the Collaborative and later found herself working alongside the employees of the Chelsea Collaborative. During her time working here, she has encouraged me and informed me about her days at work. She suggested I should apply as a Youth Leader. My time here has opened my eyes to the community I live in. Walking in I did not expect the opportunities and learning experiences I gained. To be able to represent the Collaborative and community as a Youth Leader is a privilege and honor and I can’t thank my sister enough for introducing me the Chelsea Collaborative. Their support and encouragement for me to go after my dreams gives me the hope that I can do this. I can be someone in life.