That's me standing in the back on the far left side in the photo. I was editing the photo this morning when I noticed the dress and thought it sure looked like the one I used to wear back when I was in my 20s. And, what do you know that was me. haha
I cannot remember what the celebration was all about. It could've been the end of the summer youth program for which I was coordinator, which would've been 1980. Then again it could've been the last day of the literacy/job skills program I taught the following summer.
Both programs were administered by the West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Corporation (West Bay), a community-based organization in San Francisco that served Filipino immigrants in the City, most of whom lived in the South of Market. I was totally out of my element: I did not speak nor understand Tagalog, and I was American born who grew up in a small agricultural town 100 miles south of San Francisco. Even though others assured me it didn't matter, insecurity reigned as I forged forward. As for my teaching and administrative skills, I learned on the job. That was the second West Bay literacy/job skills program for which I created a curriculum and taught, plus I just earned a teaching credential, so I was at least more confident about what I was doing.
When I graduated from college in 1976, I had no idea what to do. My first full-time permanent job was as a clerk typist in the San Francisco Financial District. When I resigned 20 months later, I still had no clue for a career. It happened that at a party, a friend told me that the Filipino Youth Coordinating Committee (which would become the youth component of West Bay) needed two part-time teachers for its summer youth literacy/job skills program. A teaching credential was preferred, but not needed. My friend convinced me that I had the know-how and skills to do the job, so I figured there was no harm in trying.
Surprisingly I got the job to teach the four-hour morning session. I also took over the afternoon session for a few weeks because the afternoon teacher went to Hawaii for some reason. Fortunately for me, Older Brother was an established teacher and helped me come up with a curriculum and materials in a weekend.
I loved the kids. There were about 20 teens, ages 14 to 18, in each session, and most of them already had a truancy and/or juvenile hall history. I enjoyed creating the curriculum, the lessons, and the activities, but teaching was another story. Back then, introvert me was okay with one-on-one, but in a group, aye, aye, aye. But, hey, I lived to tell the story.
What got me thinking about my West Bay days today? At the end of this month, the nonprofit organization will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Whoo-hoo! Mabuhay, West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Corporation!