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5 Questions: An Interview with Marissa Scholefield, Director, COMPASS Programs

A little bit about Marissa: “I’m originally from East L.A., where I grew up in a poor community just around the corner from the infamous L.A. riots. My Latino background is very much a part of my upbringing, as is my strong connection to my faith-based community. My small private school of 18-20 kids/classroom, with no playground, cafeteria, or after-school activities, was a norm for me and my friends. Most families were just lucky to afford rent and tuition, but always believed in the value of strong family ties as a source of “wealth.” Once I moved to the San Gabriel Valley in middle school/high school, I became involved in cheer, drama, and afterschool clubs, where I was able to grow into more of a social butterfly “on stage.” Now that I have a family of my own, I understand at a deeper level just how a person’s life can be impacted by having positive adult connections to buffer those struggles that everyone inevitably goes through. My family certainly has done that for me and continues to be a strong sense of support in everything I do.”

1. What do you most enjoy about working here? “Being able to be a part of people’s journey’s in changing their life for the better.”

2. If you could learn anything, what would it be and why? “I love learning about the power of people’s strengths and how to harness them, rather than focus on how to address their impairments. This approach allows people to start discovering HOW to start the change process given what they know, what they are already good at, or at least start exploring what those strengths may be.”

3. Who are your role models? “No specifics; anyone who has convictions about social issues and shows determination and collaboration in order to address them.”

4. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up, and why? “I wanted to be a zoologist, training animals. I was always interested in learning how to motivate others to behave in ways that were desirable, given the situation. In the case of animals, it would have been to teach them ways of making sure they obtain their basic needs in very predictable ways. I figured, if they had to live in a zoo, I wanted to be a part of making that setting as positive an experience as possible.”

5. Saying or motto you live by? “Everyone has the ability to live their best life. It is a decision we make for ourselves to make the steps necessary to acquire it.”

Our Impact This Year

  • Youth & Families Served


  • Youth Internship Hours


  • Housing Provided


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