I Am…Resilient

What word defines you? This is the question we asked Jorge Fernandez, a member of Center for Human Services’ (CHS) Board of Directors while we interviewed him for the I Am Project.

Jorge answered, “I am resilient.”

Photo by Justin Souza, Photos Just So

Jorge is the Director of Behavioral Health at Golden Valley Health Center and has been a member of the Board of Directors at CHS for a little over a year. “I’m still learning,” Jorge said of his experience on the Board so far, “but everyone has been very welcoming and I like to be able to represent the mental health field on the Board.”

Jorge prides himself on always being resilient. “Resilience to me is being able to continue to thrive, regardless of your circumstances you keep moving forward,” Jorge said, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, you keep getting up.”

Jorge credits his childhood experiences for building his own resilience — a trait that has pushed him to work hard and achieve the success he has accomplished. “I came from humble beginnings,” he said. Until he was in 7th grade, Jorge would spend half the year in America and half the year in Mexico. For many children, switching between English-speaking schools within the U.S. would be challenging enough.

“I feel blessed by the opportunities life has given me,” he said, “I have been able to become acculturated without leaving my culture and my roots behind.” By viewing his bi-national experience as an opportunity instead of a challenge, Jorge learned to be adaptable and tenacious. He would even ask teachers to teach him during lunch so he could catch up on work he missed. He thrived in school, continued his education and today has a Masters in Social Work.

Jorge’s involvement at CHS reaches much farther back than his time on the Board of Directors. He began his career at CHS in 2000 as a case manager and worked his way up to coordinator and supervisor positions. “I’m grateful to CHS because they were my schooling, they have integrity and they train people to be good supervisors,” Jorge said, “I’m blessed to still be involved with CHS because it’s like a family.”

This interview is a preview of the I Am Project, a multimedia project including photos by Photos Just So and video by El Nido Productions. This is a project that celebrates the humanity of individuals involved with CHS and the words that define their stories. Stay tuned for more information.