D2 Center

Meet the D2 Center Staff: Crystal Cardenas, Youth Academic Navigator (YAN)

by | Feb 18, 2014 | General

Update 2/28/2018: Crystal no longer works at the D2 Center. Good luck in your new endeavors, Crystal!

What’s your role at the D2 Center?

I am a Youth Academic Navigator.

How long have you worked at the D2 Center?

I joined the D2 Center on January 2, 2014.

Tell me about your education.

I am currently working on my Master’s of Crime Management and Justice Administration at Bellevue University. I graduated in June 2010 from Bellevue University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Communications. I am an Omaha South High graduate, Class of 2004.

What is your professional background?

I started my career working for non-profit organizations. I worked for Girls Inc. of Omaha for six years (two years as Center Director), Women’s Center for Advancement for a little over a year (Bilingual Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Advocate/ Hotline) and Child Saving Institute for one year (Bilingual Visitation Specialist). I also worked at the Literacy Center of the Midlands for one year.

Why were you interested in working at the D2 Center?

Most of my career I have worked with youth and really feel there is a need to help them out. In my last job, I worked helping kids, especially girls, see there are a lot of possibilities for them to succeed by exposing them to different opportunities. The reason I was interested in the D2 Center was because I wanted disengaged youth to have the same opportunities and to show them that we care about their future and we are not giving up. I want to try and restore the trust in teens and young adults.

What’s your favorite thing about working at the D2 Center?

My favorite thing about working here is that I get to know the youth on a personal level and get the opportunity to understand their situation. I get to provide extra help, outside academics, to help them accomplish their goal of earning a high school diploma. I get the opportunity to mentor the students I work with.

Tell me about your family.

I am married and have 3 beautiful children, two of them school age and one toddler. My husband works for Lozier Corporation in the evenings. I have a lot of support from my mother and father and four siblings. I am the oldest of five children and the first to go to college. I am Mexican American but my parents are from Mexico; they emigrated to the Unites States 30 years ago. We grew up in California.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to read, dance and spend quality time with my family. Also, in my free time I mentor! I officially mentor two teenage girls but I love to talk to youth and stay updated on issues they face. It helps me, as an adult, understand them better.

About Carolyn

Carolyn Miller is one of the directors of the D2 Center. She is a graduate of Omaha Northwest High School and the University of Iowa. Carolyn has been with the D2 Center since 2010.