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Meet Juana Pablo Perez, STEP Intern, and Fruitvale Resident

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Juana moved to Oakland from Guatemala when she was a teenager. Like many immigrants, she had to adapt to a new culture and learn a new language, or in her case two languages. Juana’s first language is Mam, a Mayan language spoken by indigenous people in Guatemala. Her adaptability and quick learning allowed her to integrate to her new home, but she needed additional support to continue to grow and reach her goals.

Juana first visited The Unity Council in February to seek employment opportunities near her Fruitvale home. At the time, the 21-year-old had a part-time job at a local retail store and wanted to find a second job to help supplement her bills. She immediately joined the STEP (Success, Training, Education, and Planning) program where she underwent a week of resume building, job training and improving her interview skills. By the following week, she was offered a temp job at The Unity Council supporting the Office Coordinator. With the dedication and guidance from Mina, our Office Coordinator, Juana learned administrative skills such as handling customer and client service requests, filing, sorting mail, ordering office supplies as well as using Microsoft Excel and Outlook. Juana continued applying to and interviewing for other opportunities outside The Unity Council, with coaching and support from her Youth Career Coach.

Juana’s quick adaption to the day-to-day operations in an office setting plus speaking three languages, as well as her passion for helping others, landed her a full-time job as a translator and office assistant at a local immigration law office. Juana admits she felt nervous stepping into the office setting and answering incoming calls on her first day. Now, she has found the confidence of her newly acquired skills and enjoys learning whatever comes her way.  

Juana is thankful for the warmth and skills learned at The Unity Council, especially from Chay and Jessica, her Career Coaches and Mina, the Office Coordinator at The Unity Council.

“I am sad to leave The Unity Council but very happy to for my next step,” says Juana.  The Unity Council has opened my eyes and helped me find the job I’ve always wanted. Never in my dreams would I have ever dreamt of it. “