About Us

 

Since 2015

Empowering All Youth

Our History & Vision

Creating First Impressions was founded in 2015 by Resah Hage and Jessica Sobel.  Creating First Impressions envisions a world where every young person in the U.S. has the ability to reach their highest employment potential, ultimately securing their economic future. We believe all youth deserve a fair opportunity to succeed in life.

What Drives Us

Our Mission

Is to addresses the employability, career readiness, communication skills, college readiness and accessibility and financial literacy of primarily homeless, foster care, youth in the juvenile courts system, transition youth, LGBTQ, trauma victims, unaccompanied minors, children of immigrants, and all impoverished youth and disadvantaged youth.

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the goal of CFI is the pursuing of the
following

Principles:

Commitment
CFI will commit to providing an environment that will inspire strong interpersonal skills and instill a sense of hope for the future of these young adults
Responsibility
CFI will empower youth in a judgement free zone with assistance in establishing goals and following through on commitments.
Possibility
CFI will expand the perspective of young people and allow them to pursue their dreams and aspirations in a supportive environment.
Encouragement
CFI encourages individuals to break the cycle and allow this new system to provide them with the support and tools needed to succeed.
Our Team

Meet Us!

Michael Gaulden

Chief Executive Officer

About Michael

Michael Gaulden is the debut author of “My Way Home: Growing Up Homeless in America” a memoir that chronicles growing up homeless for ten years in the inner-city.

He received his Bachelors of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a certified and former qualitative and quantitative researcher for UCLA’s Black Male Institute, a research institution whose goal is to conduct reliable research, practical interventions, and effective programs that enrich the educational experiences and life chances of minority males in the United States.

Gaulden is the former Director of Business and Community Relations for Reality Changers, a college prep organization with a focus on building first generation college students. He is experienced in business development, communications, and community relations.

He is the Career Exploration Coordinator and Internship Coordinator for the Monarch School Project. Monarch is the only operational school in the United States that exclusively educates K-12 students who are impacted by homelessness. Michael also attended the school in his youth.

He is an active Homeless activist, education enthusiast, musician as well as an activist for all disadvantaged people. As a motivational public speaker, he has spoken to audiences ranging from 20-2000. He is a Spoken Word artist and advocate for the arts. His goal is to shift the negative perception and connotation around homelessness and the people it impacts.

 

MyWayHome

Darrin Nelson

Board Chair

About Darrin

Darrin is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for Creating First Impressions. He first became involved with the organization after teaching financial literacy to CFI students in 2016. For Darrin, giving back to the community is second nature. From an early age, his father took Darrin out into to serve the homeless and impoverished areas of Las Vegas. Today, Darrin brings over 10 years of experience in the banking world to the CFI. In addition to his warm personality and breadth of football knowledge, his expertise both in the classroom and in the boardroom ensure that CFI makes the greatest impact on the most students in our community.

Jessica Sobel

Co-Founder

About Jessica

Jessica Sobel has a passion for working with children and teenagers who have experienced trauma in their early childhood. She received her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family therapy in 2013 and went on to work as therapist intern with at-risk juvenile offenders as well as an addiction and recovery specialist with both teens and adults. Jessica volunteered in the past as a facilitator, teaching classes to women who were looking to re-enter the workforce through an amazing program founded and funded by Dress For Success. In this program she was able to help these women create a better life for them and their children. She has found such great purpose working with these women, which paved the way for her to start her own nonprofit organization called Creating First Impressions. CFI allows Jessica to work with disadvantaged youth and young adults by helping them attain career adaptability and resources for coping with personal traumas and/or setbacks that prevent them from constructing future careers. Resume and career consulting for young adults in any transition period in their life can only serve as a benefit. Jessica looks forward to helping others build a better future for themselves through counseling, career adaptability, and life skills coaching.

Jordan Harrison

Director of Education

About Jordan

Jordan Harrison is a professional speaker, educator, and international youth development specialist born in Chicago, IL. He holds a Bachelors in Business Marketing from San Diego State University (‘14) where he graduated with 24 job offers in the corporate world and decided to make an impact in education.

Jordan Harrison is the Senior Director of Programs Reality Changers. He has worked with over 2500 8th-11th grade first-generation college-bound students throughout San Diego and Los Angeles. His work focuses on 8th-grade students with a 2.0 and below. He developed and led the program which focused on changing students trajectories while creating college-going identities within the low-income student population. Jordan is also the founder of a Black Male mentor program in Southeast San Diego and the Chief Education Officer of Rhmyes with Reason, a technology platform teaching middle and high school students ACT/SAT words through current hip-hop songs.

Harrison is committed to changing the educational outcomes of low-income, underrepresented and first-generation students from underserved communities. Jordan has worked on finding solutions to urban education challenges with the U.S Attorney’s office, Rotary international, U.S News and World Reports, San Diego State University, UC San Diego, Harvard University and many others.

His work earned him a full ride fellowship to Harvard University where he recently graduated with his Master’s in Education.

Resah Hage

Co-Founder

About Resah

Resah is the Co-Founder of Creating First Impressions. In 1993, at the young age of 16, she found herself living on her own trying to figure out how to financially support herself and still focusing on education. While navigating a difficult season, she was able to finish college and start a successful business. This was accomplished with hard work and determination. She realized it was in her heart to teach others about hope and the life skills that she was unable to acquire till later in life. In the past 20 years she has worn many hats and had the pleasure of exploring various careers. This has expanded her knowledge, experience and wisdom. She is currently a business planner, mentor, coach, writer, speaker, and more importantly the proud mom of a vivacious 4 year old daughter. She likes to joke that she really is an accidental entrepreneur. Because of that, she is passionate to come alongside at-risk and at-need youth in our community.

Mike Gold

Lead FASTcourse Instructor

About Mike

Michael Gold has been working in communications for 25 years. In 2016 he began taking his soft skills expertise to the classroom and started developing FASTcourse, a unique curriculum delivery model that blends the pace of broadcast news formatting with engaging interpersonal communication skills exercises. In the past two years Michael has taught courses and workshops serving over 100 students of diverse backgrounds in the San Diego City College Price Scholars program, Alta Vista High School and Access. Inc. Outcomes at every venue have been universally praised that the communication skills students gain are crucial for young people entering the workforce today.

Chidozie Agha

Board Member

 

James Dixon

Chief Financial Officer