From doing the corps in Los Angeles to elevating the voices of women in Las Vegas, Candice Morales tells her story.
December 21, 2017
#6DegreesofLVV aims to capture the personal stories of corps members and alumni currently serving in Las Vegas. The person featured in each story connects to the person prior in a number of different ways. Both individually and collectively, these unique stories will show you a new side of Las Vegas education.
I was born in Whittier, California, a suburb of LA. Even though I moved around a lot and went to nine different schools, they were all within a really small radius. Fast forward to when I was a sophomore in community college where I found myself helping fellow students write essays because they never learned how to in high school. I realized that by moving around, I was able to go to more affluent high schools and was better prepared for college because of it. I wondered why my education was so different than the education of my peers, and this led me down the path to TFA. I knew as soon as I understood the mission of TFA that I was going to be a corps member.
It took me five years to graduate from college--three years at community college and two years at California State, Fullerton. I was working two jobs the entire time and had to save up enough money to be a corps member because I knew I had to work an entire summer without pay for Institute. I was taking a bus to and from school, leaving the house at 6am and getting back at 9pm in order to work at a before and after school program and at a restaurant. I did the corps in LA and taught at my placement school for four years. After that, I moved to Las Vegas where I continued teaching at schools where we place corps members.
It’s the strangest story about how I ended up working on staff at TFA: a group of visitors from TFA came to observe me, but I didn’t know them (and still don’t). They left me a really nice note about how I was supporting my kids and preparing them for college, and shortly after that I got a call from the ED of TFA in Vegas. It was a great match because it led me down the path to my passion: I became a teacher coach, training and supporting our corps members.
I also think that my dad really inspired me to be where I am today. Not only did he teach me grit and determination-- but I didn’t want my students to have to struggle the way he did. He graduated college when I graduated high school and had been going to college as long as I could remember - working and taking night classes. A few years after college, he was able to start his own business. His entrepreneurship spirit and commitment to his education really inspired me.
Ultimately, I want to help people live their best life. And by that, I mean live through their strengths and feel well balanced. I’m able to do that through my role in coaching my colleagues towards achieving powerful results for kids and through my company, Riding with Cory and Candice. I am most proud of our “Vegas Women Connect” program where 80 to 100 women gather to hear each other’s stories in an affirming and empowering environment. It is a diverse group inclusive of the entire Las Vegas community of women including TFA corps members, staff, and alumni. Crystal Jones is one alum told her story--it’s impossible not to be inspired by her.
This work makes me feel hopeful because I get to see people realizing their potential or contributing their talents to the broader community. I am so fortunate that so many people share their stories with me, and I am able to see that there is hope for everyone. I’ve learned that here in Las Vegas, we have a real opportunity to change the narrative--the narrative that our kids don’t finish high school, no one cares about education, or even that there is no community. In fact, we are in a time right now where there’s real possibility, and change is imminent. Every time we create space for people to share their stories, we create possibilities for others.
Do you know someone with a great story of collective impact to share? Tell us here: http://bit.ly/2zdLQ7t