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Featured Youth – Jessica Sarmiento

Jessica Sarmiento is an alumna of the REACH Rescue EMT Training Program. After graduating 3rd in her class and receiving the highest score on the final exam in December 2014, Jessica became a part-time EMT for Protransport 1 and successfully balanced that role with her full-time internship at Kaiser Permanente’s Public Affairs Department. Although the ambitious young woman was exposed to medical equipment and terminology at an early age because of her brother’s medical condition, she didn’t have any role models in the health profession, so she decided to pursue a career in health and become a role model herself.

Jessica and her family emigrated to Oakland from the Philippines when she was a child. Growing up, Jessica struggled with school, family issues, and self-doubt amid an environment frequented by crime, racial profiling, and police brutality. Upon graduating from the Street Academy, the third high school she attended, Jessica partook in the Stanford Health Career Opportunities program, which is where she first envisioned herself being a professional in the health field. Shortly after, Jessica enrolled in the REACH Rescue EMT Training Program, where she credits Soulciety for the support and positive energy the organization provided her and her classmates to finish strong. Jessica claims that health career pathways programs such as the REACH Rescue EMT Training helped her discover her passion and solidified her goal of improving her community by becoming a doctor.

As a successful Soulciety alumna that was dealt a hand full of setbacks, Jessica advises current and prospective Soulciety participants to welcome opportunities and further themselves by breaking bad habits, because “you could still achieve your goals even if the conditions in your life hinder your promising path.”

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