Volunteer Corner: Diana Cristales-David | SierraSun.com

Volunteer Corner: Diana Cristales-David

Joanna HartmanSierra Sun

How are you involved with Creciendo Unidos? I was one of the co-founders, a co-facilitator and a participant. It began in October of 2005.What do you do with the program? Organizing as far as working with the community, administration stuff, grant writing, education projects. Everything we do is based on parent and teen needs. Our job is to facilitate the needs of the parents and teens.How and why did you start Creciendo Unidos? We started it because teens we had worked with had seen a lot of drugs and were seeing their friends using. I was hearing it from parents, too. I was just seeing [drug use] in a lot of different areas. So we all got together and decided to respond. And we met at someones house. Then we started meeting at someones house with parents. And then teens wanted their own group, Creating Alternatives.What is the program like? This was so different because the parents were working in partnership as leaders … its a movement to inspire people in their own communities to get involved and feel empowered and work with agencies as equal partners.

Do you have kids yourself? I have a set of 9-year-old twins and a baby who is 2. Which is another reason I got involved. Because younger siblings were starting to be affected [by drug use] too.I understand you are moving soon? I am moving to San Leandro on Monday. I got a job as a site director at the Boys & Girls Club.How long have you been in the Tahoe area? For eight years. And I started at the Boys & Girls Club as soon as I got here.How did that help you with Creciendo Unidos? I took all those skills and gave them to the community. I used to be the art director, teen director and gang prevention coordinator at the Boys & Girls Club. I used whatever skills I already had and brought those to the community, to the parents.What else have you been involved with here? Boys & Girls Club, Creciendo Unidos, I raise my babies here. Its a really amazing community and I knew it when I got here. Its such a unique and amazing community that really watches out for each other. Ive worked with everybody in different areas for different reasons.

What will you miss most about Tahoe? The peace and quiet. I finally realized yesterday why Im so sad [to leave]. I think its feeling like you are away from all the noise. Whether its walking around not wearing makeup, theres just a peace. You cant even explain it to people. Its just peaceful. That is what Im going to miss. I know its possible somewhere else, its just different. I was always a part of the community here. Thats whats the hardest, too. Theres something about knowing all the kids in your neighborhood. Ill miss everything that makes Kings Beach unique, the ice cream truck, the yummy authentic Mexican food made by all the families, running into the lake in the summer, watching the teens get older and wiser, fresh air and delicious Tahoe water.