Vanessa Atkins was a participant at NTLP in Nor-Cal from 2007 until 2010, and returned to staff starting in 2011. When her mom found information about NTLP in a local catalog, she says she hated the idea of going! She didn’t want to stay overnight in hot Sacramento–she thought she’d be miserable! Once at camp for the weekend, she fell in love with the welcoming environment and with the speakers, including Josh Sundquist and Calvin Terrell.
Vanessa returned to staff NTLP for several years until her son, Noah, was born. She loved coming back to staff so that she could be reminded of her experience as a participant and she could help enrich the lives of the teen participants. She mentioned that the diversity workshop made a huge impact on her as a teen because it helped open her eyes to the different stories and backgrounds that we each have experienced, and felt that the mock interviews definitely helped her prepare for the interviews that she faced later in life. Vanessa feels that Calvin Terrell’s message of inclusivity has helped her be a better parent as well, hoping to be an example of a “color kind” rather than a “color blind” individual.
Vanessa went on to attend the Academy of Art University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Fine Art degree with a concentration in New Media. She currently owns a small business, promoting health and wellness products, and is looking forward to owning a logo design business in the future.
Though recognizing that today’s teens face many uncertainties due to the Coronavirus, Vanessa is hopeful for their future and shared a quote she came across recently: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” She realizes that our teens may be suffering due to our quarantined lifestyle, and wanted to share that their futures are nonetheless able to shine bright!