“When it comes to mentors and support I have more than I can count on my two hands and that’s what has really helped me.”— Malachi Morgan
Growing up, Malachi Morgan found himself facing adversity and hardships throughout his childhood, constantly being displaced while going from school to school. With frequent change and instability, it was hard for him to feel connected to his community or supported by his school. Ironically, it wasn’t until his placement in Sonoma County Juvenile Hall that Malachi would come to find the connection and support that he needed.
Malachi was born and raised right here in Santa Rosa, attending Kawana Elementary School. He moved to Lakeport to attend a continuation school with his brother for a spell before returning to Santa Rosa and attending both Cook and Slater middle schools. He went on to attend Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa.
During his time in high school, life became much more complicated. Malachi was arrested and spent altogether approximately two years in Juvenile Hall. He also lost his mother in 2019, when she passed away unexpectedly, leaving Malachi with no other family expect for this older brother, Avion. However, according to one of his mentors, Malachi did not stand still and pity himself during this time.
During his detention, Malachi not only completed his education and graduated from high school, but he also completed a professional skills-building program. Additionally, he joined both a case work program and REACH (Re-Entering our community to achieve Academic success, good Character, and a Healthy lifestyle), a program run by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin and funded by the City of Santa Rosa’s Measure O (2004) CHOICE Grant Program. While in the REACH Program, Malachi participated in a podcast program and met one of his current mentors, David Escobar. Through participating in the podcast program, Malachi learned how to interview others, an important skill he continues to practice in his everyday work. When asked to describe Malachi, a fellow peer in detention said, “Malachi is always himself and does not get influenced by peer pressure and most of all he is a kind and humble human being.”
Today, living independently in Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) housing, Malachi channels his passion to help others and his interest in technology into his work at Best Buy, a job his probation officer Larry Younger helped him to land with interview practice and shopping for clothing suitable for interviews. He also secured an internship with the Sonoma County Public Defender’s Office in the Adult Division. He most recently enrolled in his second year at Santa Rosa Junior College and though he is still not sure what he wants to major in, Malachi is enjoying the experience of trying new and different subjects and exploring what his passions and interests are.
In May 2022, Malachi was awarded the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin REACH Youth of the Year for his dedication and commitment to overcoming herculean barriers in his life. The following month, he was presented with a Proclamation from the Santa Rosa City Council to recognize and celebrate his achievements and successes.
When asked about how the Santa Rosa and Sonoma County communities can better support local youth, Malachi says he believes high schools should integrate a professional skill building program, such as the one he participated in, into their curriculum for all students to access. He mentioned that he feels that there are few programs that offer support and mentorship for youth locally and he would also like to see more programs that focus not only on college readiness, but also vocational and technical certificates, financial readiness, and multicultural studies.
Malachi says he would not be where he is now without the support and mentorship he received from people like David, Larry and the Hon. Kenneth Gnoss, Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court. Malachi continues to find support from his mentors along with a solid friend group he’s grown close with over the years, along with his older brother. With the momentum and support he’s gained from years of hard work under adverse conditions, Malachi Morgan’s future looks very bright.
Malachi Morgan was interviewed by Daniel Chaparro, Community Outreach Specialist, and Madelynn Cox, Community Engagement AmeriCorps VISTA.
Boys and Girls Club REACH Program
City of Santa Rosa Measure O (2004) CHOICE Grant Program
David Escobar: Leading Others to Self-Discovery – Finding Belonging in Identity
Larry Younger: A Champion for Incarcerated Youth and Their Families
Youth of the Year Proclamation