People of the Bay: Meet Osiris, HEAL Intern

The Bay Area is a place that will forever have my heart …but you know what makes it what it truly is? It’s people. Actually, that’s exactly what sparks my creativity. It’s others' energy. The interactions I have with those around me… especially with fellow bay natives from all walks of life.

What better way to share this story than in collaboration with Oakland Unified School District. Their student community is full of talented and creative next generation leaders, and they have given me an opportunity to connect with my new friend, Osiris.

Oakland Unified School District Youth Program HEAL Internship Healthcare

He’s a fellow foodie and current Senior at Oakland School of the Arts. Osiris is creative at heart with a soul for health care, sparked from his own personal experiences as a patient growing up. He’s finishing up the school year and heading to UC Davis this fall to study Pre-Med and Psychology. Additionally, he's a current Student Intern in Alameda Health System’s HEAL Program.

oakland unified school district bay area youth programs HEAL internship healthcare

The HEAL Internship Program

The HEAL internship program is a partnership between Oakland Unified School District, Alameda Health System, and the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. It was created to provide a pathway for middle school and high school students to break into the fast-growing healthcare sector. Through internships, students like Osiris gain hands-on experience in their local hospitals and shadow nurses and doctors. In addition to mentorship, the program provides the students with the skills and knowledge they need to blaze the trail in their future healthcare careers.

oakland unified school district youth programs HEAL internship healthcare

Catching Up with Osiris

Last week, I met up with Osiris for lunch in Oakland to chat and learn more about his passions, his ambitions and why the HEAL Program impacted his life. His words speak for themselves. After we finished our Chicken Tikka Masala bowls at Curry Up Now, we caught up more in-depth. Here’s a snippet from our conversation.

KD: Tell me a little bit about yourself!

OH: I’m Osiris. I’m 17. I’m someone who's really into different types of art since I was little. I used to do theater. I like to write. I like to draw. I’m also a huge reader and movie fan. I’ve got a huge range of movies I like. I grew up in Richmond, and have been going to school out here in Oakland since my mom works in the area.

KD: Very cool. I grew up in the Bay too! Sounds like you have a lot of different ways you love to be creative. If you could pick one medium for the rest of your life, what would you pick, and why?

OH: I think graphic design… because posters give an immediate reaction. Film, animation and other types of media are great too, but messages from those take a little bit longer to perceive. But with posters, you have such an immediate reaction to them and it’s so important in art...especially in political art… art that’s meant to tell stories. Graphic design does that the best and allows me to take on multiple projects at once.

KD: You were inspired by art at an early age right? Also, what are some other things that make you smile?

OH: Yeah, I grew up in an environment where art was supported and talked about a lot. Like, my uncle is 60 and still in a band. Art was always pushed as something that was good. It’s so interesting. When most people grow up and tell their parents “I want to be an Artist”, they say “No, you should become a doctor.” But my parents were the opposite. I told them, “I don’t want to be an artist, I want to be a doctor” and they were like “Whaaat?”

We laughed.

OH: Things that make me happy include spending time with my friends and family. When I’m in an environment that supports my interests, that generally makes me a happier person.

KD: My dad has told me similar things: to stay creative and never lose touch with art no matter what. That’s awesome that your family is encouraging and push you to continue doing that along the way. You’re right, it does feel empowering when you’re in a supportive environment. Now, your love for art also intersects with your passion to pursue healthcare!

bay area youth program oakland unified HEAL internship healthcare

KD: How did you hear about the HEAL Program?

OH: My mom works at Highland Hospital and she had a student come in to shadow her through the program. He was really cool. He was nice.  She knew I was interested in looking for health internships and health careers, so she told me about it. I did more research on it and talked to someone that did it. The HEAL Program has been around for a long time, they kinda revamped it. After that, I knew it was something I wanted to do, so I applied!

KD: Nice! So was the HEAL Program what inspired your deeper passion for healthcare?

OS: It was my own experiences dealing with doctors and surgeons from an early age. I had to get a couple surgeries and that was definitely was a factor. My mom is also in the health field, and I saw that. She is as a role model for someone who is in the medical field. Both of those played roles. I think that it interested me to work with pediatrics, and want to work with kids somehow.

KD: Did you have an AH-HA moment from the HEAL Program? A learning moment that made you realize you were in the right place?

OH: Yeah, definitely. I’ve done the HEAL Program for 2 years now. When I first started, I was in the Gastroenterology. That was my AH-HA moment for knowing I wanted to work in a hospital. That first department was one of my favorite departments because were so welcoming and nice. This year I’m in the OR, and I’ve been there all year. It’s so amazing.

I was able to see a neurosurgery 3-4 months ago, and got to be right next to the surgeon. He invited me back anytime I want. It was such a welcoming environment. That’s when I knew I wanted to do surgery.

KD: That’s awesome! You got to get into the scrubs and you’re already getting to see what it’s like inside an OR room. Sounds like HEAL is creating a pathway to see what it’s like, even before college. What’s your favorite part of the HEAL internship program?

OH: It’s changed. As an intern, I still get to go on rotation but I’m also a role model for the younger kids. I help teach the middle school students. That’s definitely my favorite part now, because I am a role model figure to a lot of the students and they’re all students of color. I think it’s really important. In my education system, I didn’t see a lot of black or people of color in the educational field. I think it’s important to have those role models for them.

Oakland Unified HEAL Internship Bay Area Youth Program Healthcare

KD: So we’ve touched the parts of the program you love. What about challenges? What’s a current barrier you’re going through towards success?

OH: I think the hardest part is juggling school and the program. I go three days a week, 2-6pm. I leave school early, so I’m not there for all my art time. I have to do my art assignments at home along with all my homework. I get home at 8:00pm it’s a lot to manage myself. Sometimes I wake up early to get the work done. It’s hard.

KD: It is hard, but it sounds like you’re doing a great job at it! Keep it up! Can you tell me more about your dreams and ambitions?

OH: I want to go into pre-med and become a pediatric surgeon. It’s kinda changed as I’m watching more surgeries but I want to specialize in pediatric neurosurgery. There aren’t many black neurosurgeons… and it’s really interesting. After watching a few neuro surgeries I definitely want to do that but while still working with kids. I want to continue doing some kind of social justice work as well. Like those that mentored me, I can take high school and middle school students in with me to see surgeries. I want to work at a teaching hospital cause I love the aspect of teaching others and I also want to continue doing art of some sort too.

KD: It’s so great that you see a path where all your passions and interests intersect. Last but not least, who or what ultimately inspires you?

OS: Giving back to the community. My community really inspires me to continue and working with middle school students motivated me to do more. It’s the next group of students that will come after me. I want them to have better than I did, so I think that’s been a huge motivator.

bay area youth programs HEAL internship health care oakland unified

Hanging out with Osiris sparked so many realizations. First, how much it reminded me of working with youth in the parks. It's been a few years, but when I spoke with Osiris, I felt oddly familiar and brought me back to memories from a very special time in my career. It’s essential that our communities create partnerships with local organizations. By doing so, we nurture a safe space for growth and build empowering pathways to help our next generation become future leaders, no matter what field they are pursuing.

To learn more about the HEAL Program and explore the stories of his peers visit Oakland Story Youth Bank.


Kitava, A Healthy Lunch in the Mission

kitava healthy food restaurant mission san francisco

Sunday mornings are usually for brunch, am I right? Instead of going straight to stuff our faces, Abbie and I have been using Sunday mornings to sweat it out and hang out over a good workout. This time, we went to Orange Theory Fitness and we were DEAD AF. We really needed some food to refuel and wanted to pick a place mindfully, even though we've got weak spots for mimosas. 

Along with fitness, we've been making mindful eating choices, and Abbie completed the Whole30 meal plan. For this week's Sunday eats, we needed to go somewhere that would accommodate that. We ended up at Kitava: a healthy eats restaurant that serves nutritious whole foods. And it tastes so good, you almost feel guilty about it. 

kitava healthy food restaurant mission san francisco

The small gluten-free restaurant is in the heart of the Mission and is right across the street from 16th Street Bart Station. Walk in and you'll be welcomed by minimal decor, natural elements and fun graphics on the walls. We went up to the main counter, ordered our food and sat at a table near the entrance. The staff was friendly and overall had a calm, relaxing vibe.

kitava healthy food restaurant mission san francisco
kitava healthy food restaurant mission san francisco

What we ordered:

  • Cuban Bowl: naturally sweet plantains, avocado, kale slaw, cilantro-garlic mojo sauce, white rice (or cauliflower rice) & beans (or extra kale slaw)
  • Butternut squash hummus with yucca chips
  • Fried Plantains: naturally sweet plantain slices sprinkled with sea salt, paired with chipotle aioli
  • Pinot Sage Kombucha
healthy eats san francisco mission district

Food with a purpose: Kitava's Food Philosophy

As we waited for our food something caught my eye. At our table, I saw a little card that talked more about their food philosophy. That's where I learned about where and how they sourced their ingredients: 

  • All the food is made from scratch
  • Kitava prides themselves in assuring the food is sourced consciously
  • They make sure to fill the dishes with veggies that are dense with nutrients. Bye bye iceberg lettuce! 
  • The meat they use are only grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken and pork, and wild-caught salmon
  • The recipes only incorporate naturally occurring fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and sustainably sourced palm oil. 
kitava healthy food restaurant mission san francisco
kitava healthy food restaurant mission san francisco
kitava healthy food restaurant mission san francisco

Everything we ordered was a customer favorite, and we could see why! All food was flavorful and filling. I don't know if it's just me, but sometimes I feel like veggie heavy meals just don't always cut it and I get hungry shortly after. I didn't have that issue with Kitava.

Also, I want to note the portion was generous. Even with the big bowl, the taste was so satisfying that it made me savor my bites anyways. 

I'm already thinking about the butternut squash hummus with yucca chips again. If I could take some of that home, I'd be snacking on it all day!

If you're looking for healthy nourishing food and find yourself in the Mission District, this is a spot you don't want to pass up. Hope you enjoy!

big bowl food healthy eats san francisco
kitava healthy eats san francisco

Together We Bloom at Femme Fair


After a few months of a creative slump, I am inspired, fired up and reignited. That's the type of energy and community that's nurtured at Femme Fair, and this is a reason why I'm a day one supporter. 

Femme Fair sets itself apart in so many ways. Behind all the female empowerment-themed instagrammable decor is a tribe of women who assure that their mission is seen in every detail. With the intentional event design, Claire Xue assured that no corner was left untouched. 

Art Install by Pansyco, Representing all shapes, sizes and colors.

Art Install by Pansyco, Representing all shapes, sizes and colors.

Here's a round-up of all the different elements that make this an SF event you won't want to miss in 2019. 

Walking into Femme Fair

Walking into Femme Fair


In partnership with Peerspace, Femme Fair held this year's event at The Archery: a spacious venue in the Mission District with glass ceilings filling the room with sunny lighting. It was so pretty!

femme fair san francisco blogger event lady falcon coffee club

I had a bit of time before the panels began, so I took a lap and the first thing I scoped out was caffeine. I came across the coffee which was served by Lady Falcon Coffee Club, a local women's owned mobile coffee shop. Coffee: check. Ready to start the day!

femme fair san francisco blogger event lady falcon coffee club

In addition to the shopping, food & drinks and photo experiences Femme Fair attendees know and love, the team expanded on the day's agenda for VIP Ticketholders. And FYI, this isn't exclusive to creatives/influencers. 

With the VIP ticket, I took home a goodie bag full of amazing full-sized beauty, health and style goodies but even better... I took away so much more than just that.

femme fair san francisco blogger event
The Femme Fair Team

The Femme Fair Team

Female Empowerment cookies by  @ xobakes

Female Empowerment cookies by @xobakes

This year we named our event Together, we bloom. ...because together whatever you do in life, you can’t do it alone.


Co-founders Stacey, Christina and Mel kicked off the day and welcomed the attendees with a heartfelt message of gratitude. Along with introducing this year's theme, Together We Bloom, they also explained how the brand's abstract shapes and multi-colored aesthetic was inspired by their idea of beauty... in diversity.

Beauty is in diversity. It comes in many shapes, sizes and colors.
femme fair san francisco blogger event


After the welcome, Mel moderated a panel of three female entrepreneurs & content creators: Shah Zareef (@bossmomnation), Arnelle Lozada (@arnelle) and Mandana Ansari (@girlandthebay). They spoke about vulnerability, facing fears and finding your voice, especially as a creative in modern society. You should see the amount of notes I have from this session... that alone could be its own post. Instead, I'll share one quick quote that stuck with me since. During the panel, Mandana made us all laugh while also making a solid point about grace.  She said "Every time I go to see landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, it's are always under construction! See, you can be a masterpiece and a work of art at the same time. Give yourself the same grace". That was a wake up call, especially for myself. I thought about how free I use to post in real time, but feel pressured to hold back and make sure it "fits the grid". This inspired me to let loose a little, enjoy the imperfections and work on that.

These women warmed up the room, spoke from an authentic place and created a safe understanding space for deeper dialogue. 



Not all events will dare to break glass ceilings and take a whole room to speak through difficult dialogue... but Femme Fair did and they used their platform the best way possible. They created a space that not only brings a community of women together but also weaved in something bigger than ourselves. This year, they shed light on Sex Trafficking Awareness. Chloe Vega, a Prevention Coordinator of Selah Freedom came to speak with the attendees to share her story. Pulling from personal experience and her professional journey in advocacy to end Sex Trafficking, Chloe captivated the room. She kept it real and raw and intrigued us with ways we could spread the awareness and get involved. 

Shah ,  Stacey  &  Arnelle : Women of Color, Juggling Life and Chasing your Dreams

Shah, Stacey & Arnelle: Women of Color, Juggling Life and Chasing your Dreams


After the morning sessions came to an end, I wandered and mingled to explore the space with a few of my new friends for a few minutes. I grabbed some food and hopped in to join one of the more intimate mentoring conversations with the Femme Fair Fam and speakers. The caffeine caught up with me, so I might have been stuffing my face while listening to Christina and Mandana speak on Business, Career and Social Media Strategy. 

Photo by  Zoe Larkin , Headshot Photography by Zoe Larkin and  Praise (ComePlum)

Photo by Zoe Larkin, Headshot Photography by Zoe Larkin and Praise (ComePlum)

Mini Photo Sessions

Another great part of the experience was getting to shoot mini photo-sessions led by Praise (ComePlum) and Zoe Larkin. They created a relaxed environment which made me very comfortable to get shots like this one. The two of them captured photos of so many diverse women that day, and loved seeing how each shot was unique to the girl in front of the camera!

Gorgeous flowers from  le bouquet sf

Gorgeous flowers from le bouquet sf

Flower bracelet tutorial by  Le Bouquet SF

Flower bracelet tutorial by Le Bouquet SF


There were several fun craft and beauty experiences spread throughout the event. I love crafts, so one I quickly gravitated towards was Le Bouquet. They hosted a DIY station and taught us to craft our own flower bracelets. I made mine with grey-blue thistles. Felt like prom all over again!

Free Blowouts by Dyson Hair

Free Blowouts by Dyson Hair


There were several stations for beauty touch-ups. I didn't get a chance to visit all of them, but I did get squeezed in for a blow out appointment with Dyson Hair! I got a late afternoon slot, so it was perfect timing after a long day. I was feeling BRAND. NEW. 


There were so many beautiful pieces in all 15 of the blogger closets! DJ That Girl made sure we were feelin' ourselves while sifting through the clothes. A highlight of this shopping session: a pair of hot fire black platform boots from Jayme (@thehellajam). Pictures to come in a future shoot. ;)

Reunited with my childhood girls from Middle School,  Samantha  and  maicA !

Reunited with my childhood girls from Middle School, Samantha and maicA!

Meeting new blogger friends in person!  Nerrissa  and  Brianna  taking a cute mirror pic.

Meeting new blogger friends in person! Nerrissa and Brianna taking a cute mirror pic.

Community over Competition

At events like these, it's always nice to have a buddy but this time I walked into the event with the intention of meeting up with friends, new and old. I immediately felt comfortable to be myself and warmly introduce myself to fellow creatives in the room. My RBF wasn't going to get in the way this time around! lol. Seriously though, I'm so grateful to have the connected with many wonderful, hard-working, friendly women at this event. It really was a catalyst for new friendships and motivated me to get more active in content creation and joining in local events again. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I had taken a step back for a few months, but now feel revived and inspired. I felt positive and empowering vibes from those all around and I'm so happy I came back for the second time around.

Event Design by  Claire Xue

Event Design by Claire Xue

Femme Fair Poster Wall by  Nailah Ali

Femme Fair Poster Wall by Nailah Ali

Floral arrangement by  Freckled Floral

Floral arrangement by Freckled Floral

Thank you to the Femme Fair team for another wonderful year!