DEAR LMU Who would have thought I’d leave sunny California and LMU’s amazing view from the bluff for the fast-paced life of New York! After graduation, I headed east to pursue a master’s degree in social work at Columbia University. My first winter here was truly miserable, and I ached to be home in sunny Los Angeles. But I soon found a home and many opportunities to serve others.
After graduate school, I accepted an offer from the New York City Department of Education’s Gang Prevention and Intervention Unit, where I work in gang awareness and youth violence intervention services. Just this year, I began working as a program manager for homeless youth and students living in temporary housing. My responsibility is to ensure their chance at an equitable education and to nurture their college dreams. I remember volunteering at juvenile hall with my Ignatian service org buddies and working with Greg Boyle, S.J. He was a big influence on me, and his 2005 commencement address was the encouragement I needed to be a woman for others.
One of my coolest experiences here was running in the famous New York City marathon! What a great way to view NYC! I ran for Team for Kids, which works to provide alternatives to violence. Cheering me on were the 10-year-old boys and girls who I coached through the Brooklyn Patriots Soccer Club. One player’s parents were the authors of one of my sociology textbooks!
In January, I was proud to serve as the team leader for the LMU Alumni Association National Day of Service. It was rewarding to work with other Lions to beautify St. Joan of Arc Educational Complex. Sister Peg Dolan’s spirit was definitely present as we worked hard to keep her legacy alive in her hometown. I have truly been blessed to be able to use my education and passion to advocate for vulnerable youth populations and serve my community.
Xochiltl Bravo ’05
Brooklyn, New York