Hello all! My name is Mellisa Duarte-Love (pronouns ve/vem) and I am a Youth Advocate and Foster Youth Liaison for The Epicenter. I am 21 years old originally from San Mateo County currently living in Monterey County. I have been in Foster Care since I was 13 years old. Growing up in care was extremely difficult for me because I was always moved around and never stayed in one place long enough to make any friends who would remember me. I have always spoken up for myself and others around me. At a young age, I knew that when I grew up, I needed to be a voice for others who were in similar situations. What I really enjoy most about The Epicenter is that everyone here is extremely accepting and supportive of one another. Everyone here values each other and we all work together as a team. I love working with the youth that comes in and out of the center I see so much potential within them and helping them branch out and learn different skills. It gives me hope and reassurance that one day our youth will be able to advocate for themselves and be able to utilize the skills and all of the resources that we have here at The Epicenter.
I also love the fact that we are here to help youth find resources, and everyone here is so dedicated and extremely hardworking.
“ It’s not about being alone, it’s about your existence and thriving within it. How can I make my weakness my power”.