Efrain, age 22.

Host site: Common Threads Farm in Bellingham, WA

“Going into college as an 18-year-old, I was a pretty big procrastinator and not super great with technology. I wouldn’t blame that as the sole reason why I didn’t finish school, but it played into it. My GPA was really low, and I stopped school. The next year, I started at Whatcom Community College. I was in school to go into human services. But at the time, I didn’t know what that meant, and the goal wasn’t crystal clear. That was probably the reason why school went on the back burner. At Whatcom, my goal was to get my AA and to have that higher education.

Before Christmas break, I had a pretty bad concussion, so going back to class was hard. It made my head buzz. I couldn’t get my head back in the game. I dropped out of school. After that, I was babysitting for a bit, odd jobs, to pay rent. A friend of mine worked at a restaurant, and he recommended me for a job there. After a year, I moved up to the line. I also worked at a ramen shop in town. I wanted to expand my cooking portfolio. Then COVID happened. After the lockdown ended, I didn’t want to work there forever. So, I quit without a plan.

My brother, who works for the school district, told me about the WA COVID Response Corps. I had been talking to him about how working in a restaurant wasn’t fulfilling. It was physically and mentally exhausting. I knew I needed to get out. I was floating for a little bit. I just didn’t know what my next moves were going to be. I’ve always wanted to be an immigration attorney, so I was looking into base blocks to build upon. When my brother told me about the Response Corps and Common Threads, I looked into it and was interested. The aspect of teaching the community drew me in. To be able to work and learn and help people in need in my community – seemed like a really amazing deal.

Everyone at Common Threads made it as easy as possible to onboard. I feel prepared going through the training and knowing the things I needed to accomplish. Although I find myself a little nervous, I tell myself that being nervous is good because it means I’m at a level where I want to learn. And I want to do better than where I’m at.”


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