Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme

Staff Spotlight: Mariana Cazares Morataya

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015

Mariana Cazares

Mariana Cazares Morataya has worked at the Club since 2006, starting as the academic and career advisor working with teens and giving them advice on their future. Now as the Youth Empowerment Program coordinator, she oversees six staff members, and provides training and support for academic and career advisors, which includes reviewing all the students’ applications, setting up mock interviews and meeting with participants being referred to vocational training or subsidized employment.

“Over the years, I’ve learned that the youth we work with are a resilient group of participants and they have gone through some hard times, yet they have found a way to overcome a lot,” Mariana said.

Born in Sonora, Mexico, Mariana was raised in Oxnard. She graduated from Rio Mesa High School and received a bachelor’s of science degree in criminal justice administration with a minor in Spanish from San Diego State University.

Mariana enjoys working for the Club because she feels the programs help at-risk youth accomplish their dreams, and she works hard to see that happen. More than 100 youth participate in the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) each year, which is designed to teach young people, ages 16-21, the skills they need to be successful in their future.

Within YEP, there are three programs: the Job Ready Program for high school students, the Job Ready Accelerated Program for youth out of school and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Program for high school seniors. All the youth who come into the program receive a free membership to the Club.

Most of the career and academic advising is done at the 7th Street Boys & Girls Club, but the Club does have an extension at the Oxnard Housing Authority in Colonia where it services older youth in the area.

“I love working with the youth in our community, providing resources and showing them that their circumstances should not define them or limit them,” said Mariana, adding that it’s important for youth to know they can make things happen. “I like them to know they can take charge of their destiny, and I motivate them to work hard to achieve their goals.”

Mariana is graduating from California State University Northridge in May with an MPA in management and leadership.

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