Meet Crystal Rivera, a veteran of Blueprints, formerly Community Action Southwest. Rivera serves as a supervisor for community based programming. She works with and oversees the independent living, and transitional living programs, as well as FGDM (Family Group Decision Making Program), T.I.P.P. (Truancy Intervention Prevention Program), and the after-school program.

The agency has recently rebranded into the name Blueprints, but it is still powered by Community Action. When I asked how Rivera’s work affects the mission of Blueprints, she reflected on how much impact the programming has.

“We truly help empower others – break barriers and build futures,” she said. “We help transition our clients into society. I am blessed daily by the impact we have on their lives.”

They always say that you learn something new every day; this remains true for Rivera, who has been with the agency for almost 15 years.

This past week alone, Rivera had gained a lot of knowledge on programs they are trying to instate. To this day, she can’t get over how helpful and nice everyone is within Blueprints.

“We all work as a team and collaborate so well together, it’s so refreshing” said Rivera.

Throughout her years of service to the organization, there have been many changes. However, some things remain the same. Rivera recalls a fundraiser she got to be a part of:

“There are a few fundraisers we did. One in particular was a car wash where the teenagers were helping raising money for the independent living program to go out on a fun activity. They teenagers that volunteered their time to help with car wash decided to donate the money to a scholarship fund. A CYS worker’s son had passed away, and so they had donated the money raised to that. I was so impressed with them, they wanted to help someone else out.”

When asked what three words Rivera would use to describe Blueprints, she mentions, “Empowering, impactful, and ‘on the edge” or ‘always planning ahead.’”

With such close involvement with the youth in the programs, Rivera constantly sees the impact the programming has throughout their lives.

Rivera also loves being involved with transitional-age youth. She loves seeing them develop into productive members of society. She is also passionate about world peace and equality for all.

About two years ago, during an interview, I was asked what my spirit animal was. I found that so fascinating because you can really see what a persons’ personality is like through that question. I decided to give it a go on Rivera.

“I would say an otter; they are witty, thoughtful, funny, and a people person.” I must say… brilliant.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

This quote is one of Rivera’s favorites. Without optimism, this world would be a dark place. We all go into this industry because we have a passion for helping others. I believe the same goes for Crystal Rivera.