Luciana Sousa

Youth Worker, Roca, Inc.

The Organization:

Roca has had unparalleled success altering the life trajectories of America's most high-risk young people - the young people that are involved in crime, engaged in dangerous behaviors, have rejected help, have dropped out of school, and are simply too difficult for other programs to serve.

  • Roca seeks out the most difficult, challenging young people – the young people who are unwilling or unable to attend traditional programming, work or school.
  • Roca's services are designed to work with young people who are not prepared to participate in traditional programming. All program components address issues of relapse, using failure as a tool to help young people learn.
  • Roca is an outcomes-driven organization and operates by a rigorous system of performance management and impact evaluation.
  • Roca works with the criminal justice system and government to change how they work with those young people.

Why Luciana is a Superstar:

Luciana shows up every day on time, with a plan, ready to jump into the day rain or shine. Her enthusiasm, evenness and relentlessly upbeat can-do attitude is no easy feat in an environment that can often be hard, complicated and challenging. No task is too big (getting a young man into Job Corps), too tedious (helping a young man turn himself in on 3 warrants one at a time while he digs in his heels at every turn), or too small (making sure a young man gets to be a kid for an afternoon at the circus). She approaches each task with the same level of enthusiasm because she understands each interaction with a young man can be that turning point for her relationship or him in his change process.

Luci uses data to build Transformational Relationships with her young men; from acknowledging their birthday to reflecting on previous conversations. When a young man is in relapse she can quickly see her weekly contacts and acknowledge how hard she has worked to get them back or how much harder she needs to work.

Luciana works her caseload masterfully by planning a goal and then setting smaller steps toward those goals. Luci is adept at taking all the personal data about a young man and then helping him uncover and realize his values, triggering his intrinsic motivation. She steadfastly digs into the complicated - and often overwhelming - details so that they can navigate the roadblocks that keep them stuck and feeling (and therefore thinking and behaving) badly. She has ordered licenses from other states that only take checks, taken young men to the Department of Transitional Assistance countless times, taught permit classes, helped with bank accounts, car loans, housing, medical issues and substance abuse treatment. Her planning makes the unattainable attainable and the unknown known. Her thoughtfulness and care for her team in all the little things she remembers, acknowledges, says and does for others is a special trait.

The Data: