Staff Spotlight: Garrett Crane

Staff Spotlight: Garrett Crane

“The biggest aspect of this role is providing compassion, empathy, and support,” says Garrett Crane, Lead Youth Advocate for SAY’s Housing Services team. “While it can be emotional and difficult, it is the most rewarding work experience I have ever had.”

Garrett joined SAY almost two years ago, originally starting as a Youth Advocate on the night shift. Working nights gave him a chance to get to know the youth living in SAY’s long-term housing program and be a consistent source of support during some of their more challenging moments.

“Nights versus days are two completely different worlds. Working nights, you see a lot of the real, raw nitty-gritty, and highly emotional aspects of life,” says Garrett.  “A lot of stories that are really difficult.”

Garrett has plenty of experience in lending a sympathetic ear. He recently graduated from Sonoma State University (SSU), where he was both a participant and leader in a peer mentor program. Through this program, Garrett sharpened his skill in individual case management. Although his original plan was to pursue a teaching credential, he decided to take a chance in a different direction and accepted the Lead Advocate role. He enjoys the personalized connections he has built with the youth in SAY’s Housing program and feels good about helping them create pathways to independence.

“I really want SAY to be a jumping-off point, that’s what it is supposed to be,” says Garrett. “I’m trying to figure out how I can help get our youth back into the community, being self-sufficient and feeling good about themselves.”

Garrett’s commitment to supporting his team has not gone unnoticed. His colleagues recently nominated Garrett as SAY’s Winter Employee of the Quarter.

“When I first started, Garrett was practically new himself. But he was fearless. He was here at the Dream Center learning along with me, providing services to our youth,” says Mildred Williams, Director of Housing. “He was a gem for me then, and he continuously shines today.”

A Sonoma County local, Garrett grew up in Guerneville surrounded by family members who dedicated their time to community. He takes inspiration from his grandmother, the first person in his family to earn a college degree. After earning her master’s degree she spent over 20 years as a local educator, teaching in elementary schools as well as taking on the role of educator-in-residence at SSU.

“It’s really an amazing thing when you are a child and random adults walk up to you to ask if your grandma is still teaching,” Garrett smiles. “To see that she’s made an incredible impact on our community for generations, that’s really cool! I want to do something like that for myself.”

Garrett makes an impact on the young people living here at our Dream Center, and we are so proud to have him on our team!