What does a day in your work life look like?
A loud blare in my ear at 5:00 AM means it's time to get up. The clock staring back at me seems menacing at such an early hour. However, I'm excited because it’s the first day of camp.
I start my routine with some calming music to quiet my early-morning-hostile-personality that only comes out in the early-early mornings. I try to throw on my work clothes quickly so I can get out of the door 10 minutes before the time I’m set to leave, but I end up 5 minutes late with no breakfast to show for it.
I get to work at 6 AM because the first day of camp needs the most setup. When I arrive, my coworkers and I put up tables and get out the tools and supplies necessary for the kids' projects. Everything has to be sanitized constantly so we bleach tools two to three times to make sure they’re germ-free for the kids, because kids are unnecessarily germy. I'm waking up now and getting excited for the day.
The kids arrive at 8:15 AM and I do fever checks and learn the names and faces of each girl so they don't feel so afraid. Some of the girls are timid and shy, while others take to the setup of tents and tools like fish to water. No matter what, every girl is anxious so I try to make them feel like they have a friend.
For the rest of the day, we do camp games, get them acclimated to the structure of camp, and get them into their work stations to begin projects they'll work on all week.
After lunch sometimes the girls are exhausted and irritable. This is the time of the day that can be hardest to navigate, but all it takes is some patience, a few words of encouragement, and a few of my corny jokes to get them re-energized and back on track. By 4:15 PM all the girls' workstations are clear. It’s the end of the day. I feel totally exhausted, but I know in my heart it's all worth it and I’ll be ready again tomorrow.
What made you start doing the amazing things that you do?
There isn’t a specific point in my life I can track where I started doing the things I do. From my earliest moments, I was busy. Whether I climbed trees, ran, rode my skateboard, or scraped my knee, I was always doing something. I started to put all that busy energy into things like sports, origami, Legos, and eventually tools.
Yet, I didn't see many girls doing the things I did when I was young, so I felt out of place. My mom picked up on my uniqueness early and let me know that it was okay for a girl to do things like football, working with tools, and being busy. As I got older, I just kept creating and building and fueling my passions to build. The person who likes to build today is the same little girl that found her place in the things "other girls didn’t."
Did you complete any training?
My family says I have a natural talent for stuff. However, my skill development at Girls Build, and real experience in my class workshop at Benson Polytechnic High School where I majored in construction, have taught me more than a few skills of the trade. But no matter what gives me the skills I have, I still have to put in the work.
What do you want people to know about being a woman in your field?
You make space for your talent, your knowledge, your skill. If you're looking for a seat at the table and it's not there, build it. Then protect the space you have created and earned.
What's the biggest challenge you have faced in your work?
I find that managing my energy and effort is very challenging when working with kids. They have a ton of energy, and it can get exhausting. It's important to learn how to manage your time and energy for each lesson and activity.
What are you doing when you’re not working hard?
I work on my music when I have free time. It calms me down and centers me. I am currently converting my garage into a music studio where I can continue to produce more of my songs and music!
If I don't have an instrument in my hands, then I have a pencil, a crochet stick, or a hammer.Some of Raven's fave music
What does workwear designed for women mean to you?
Firstly, it means BIGGER POCKETS! Next, women's wear is usually thin and easily torn, so durability is a must. Lastly, women's workwear doesn't have to be ugly to be reliable. Your best creations come out when your clothes are sturdy and stylish.
Raven's pronouns are she + her.