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Mid-City CAN Blog

New youth organizer is a familiar face

Terry Stanley
Terry Stanley
On April 22, Mid-City Community Advocacy Network added a new Youth Organizer.

Terry Stanley is new to the staff role, but is well-known to City Heights community members. He estimates he has been involved with Mid-City CAN for about three years, first becoming involved in the Mid-City CAN Youth Council during an advocacy event called Park(ing) Day, when the group converted a parking lot into a skatepark and community gathering place. Mid-City CAN is the local hub for the Building Healthy Communities Initiative, a 10-year, $1 billion effort to change the way that health happens in 14 communities in California, including City Heights.

Stanley, now 21, said he was looking for ways to get more involved.

"I was born in City Heights, raised in City Heights, love City Heights," he said. "If there is a thing to make the community better, I'd rather do it than just leave."

He believes that residents should invest in improving the community.

People who leave "just hope for another place to be good, and when it goes bad they are going to want to leave again," he said. "So instead of trying to find someplace new, why not keep going and renovate it."

Stanley credits his involvement with Mid-City CAN with much of his professional development, especially with public speaking, he said. He became comfortable in high-pressure situations, like addressing City Council.
And that work has paid off, Stanley said.

"We got two skateparks campaigns done -- finally finished, and a thousand free bus passes for high school students," he said.

Having finished those campaigns, including a $1.75 million skatepark expected to break ground this summer in Park De La Cruz, gives the Youth Council members a chance to redefine the issues they are working on.
Stanley said his first steps as the Mid-City CAN Youth Organizer will include recruiting new members to the group to offer fresh ideas and energy.

"We are going to round up a group of youth, go recruit then start a new campaign, [then find] a big issue in City Heights," he said.

He anticipates that developing group members with some of the same skills he learned will be the focus of much of his early work.

"Once they are not shy everything is easier," he said.
Stanley said his only regret about his involvement with Mid-City CAN is not taking advantage of more opportunities.

He offers this advice to young City Heights residents like himself when he started: "Don't be afraid to let your voice be heard," he said. "Take those steps, take all the opportunities you can."

He said he stayed involved with Mid-City CAN because of a sense of community.

"It's like family to me even though it [includes] new faces," he said. "It's the relationship you build among each other, it keeps me there."

Even though Terry has worked with other Mid-City CAN momentum teams, the Mid-City CAN Youth Council is where his passion is, especially now that he is going to become a father in June. But even though his own family is growing, Mid-City CAN's role in his life hasn't shrunk.

"You develop relationships where they take care of you, and you take care of them as well," he said.

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The Mid-City Community Advocacy Network's mission is to create a safe, productive,Quotation (Right)
and healthy community through collaboration, advocacy, and organizing.

Fiscal sponsor Mission Edge San Diego.