#myscenarios – Gloria Daniel, Associate Director

Cecilia Mejia By Cecilia Mejia, December 30, 2016


Anna, Ashley, David, Ernestine, Nancy, Yi-Ching and more recently Bianca, Josh, Cecilia, Tara, Emma, these are but a few of the people who stepped through Scenarios doors and have helped build it. These amazing individuals have all played a part in the story that is my life. They are making my life richer, fuller, brighter, bolder, louder, and stronger.

Anna reminded me how to ask for help and how to give help when needed.  Ashley consistently awed me at how insanely brilliant, creative, compassionate, and caring an individual she is. Everyday I worked with her I was gifted to see a powerful woman grow and evolve. David taught me the true face of feminism. There is no louder voice on the planet than the man who quietly accepts the leadership of a powerful woman and embraces it in every aspect of his life and lays it all bare for the world to see proudly. Ernestine reignited my need to learn. She reminded me to stop learning is death. To stop seeking answers to stop being interested in how to do something new is just another form of death. Ernestine challenged her students, her peers, and her colleagues to seek answers that others were afraid to ask. Fear was no reason not to seek answers. To Ernestine fear was the reason to push harder, to go further, to discover something new. Nancy showed me just how strong and motivated this  generation is. Nancy doesn’t see a barrier she can’t climb. There is no obstacle that can’t be overcome. I don’t believe Nancy understands the word can’t. Nancy is the definition of perseverance. Perseverance I believe will define this next generation.  From Yi-Ching I learned to look at the world through an artist’s eye. Yi-Ching was one the few people who fit the definition of a paradox. In a world bombarded by advertising and pop-culture Yi-Ching was amazingly lightly touched by it. Yi-Ching preferring the view of the world through her camera lens. Combine that with an intelligence that can be sometimes mind-blowing in it’s vastness you can glean an insight about the world that can shake foundations. Bianca, is the reason I love me.Through Bianca’s eyes I found the courage to love myself and my body. To begin to reconcile over thirty years of self-hate and internal disgust caused from accepting society’s view of what is beautiful. Bianca set an example that I had never seen before. She gave an unapologetic performance of a proud beautiful woman of color who demanded to be loved as she was. Take it or leave it. There is no greater gift I could have received from the universe than the chance I had to learn from this amazing woman. Through Josh I learned how passion is not just a trait in a person’s soul. It is an action. It is an action that is borne out of love. It is an action that is played out in deed. It is an action in how we choose to work. It is an action in what we choose to do and how we choose to do it. Josh’s decision to surrender to the Scenarios process and then use his expertise to get phenomenal performances from the cast and pulling such emotion from the writer for House not Home. It is a blueprint on how to guide a project, lead a crew, and produce a production. Cecilia challenges me, pushes me, encourages me, and gently guides me into spaces to learn and to grow into my role as Associate Director. Under her tutelage I’m learning what Development means to her, what leadership means to me and I’m learning how to do both those things better. With her friendship I hope to elevate both those relationships with an even higher level of integrity, respect, that I hold myself to and maintain the boundaries that both roles will need. With Tara I’m reminded to look at my organization with fresh eyes and see what more I can do to make the experience better for everyone I work with. Emma reminds me of the future. Emma brings possibility, new ideas, new ways of thinking, and a new energy.

There is a group of individuals that I have not mentioned. Our alumni! These amazing individuals are actually too many to mention by name but please know they all have left their mark on me in their own way. Their work and their voice inspire me to give the very best of myself at all times.

With all this there are still few people missing. My story is nowhere near finished but like every good story it did have an origin. Mine began 5 years ago and 3 remarkable individuals frame that beginning. Rob holds down the film aspect of our programs. Since I’ve been with Scenarios Rob has worked with every winning writer in our program and almost all of our youth. He would recognized as the elder statesman of our group. His knowledge of our programs and staff provides the living oral history needed to give our organization authenticity and truth. Rob is the one willing to play devil’s advocate. The one willing to push you to prove your point, put forth your arguments, he reminds me if you won’t fight for what you want don’t expect any one else to either. Stephanie, has been running Cleveland for the last 7 years. In the meantime she got 2 Master degrees and every summer in Cleveland she organizes a free health event for 500 youth with her sorority – when it comes to education, she is one of the smartest minds I know. The fact that she chooses to stay with Scenarios blows my mind everyday. When she speaks I want to bask in the glow of her words. I want luxuriate in her way of taking complex concepts and laying them out in simplified, tangible, concrete blocks that don’t make me feel stupid. Instead they make me want to get out of my seat and shout why haven’t we done this yet! I have seen and heard Stephanie take the hardest of subjects, race, break it down in such a way that everyone could comment and not feel accused of being racist. You could call that a miracle but that’s a disservice to what it actually is. That is the work of an extremely skilled and educated woman. Dear Steph, I strive to be like you in so many ways. Lastly, there is Maura. The co-founder and executive director of Scenarios USA who has given the last 19 years of her life to this organization. She put her very soul into this organization. I have learned what the definition of commitment looks like from her example. This woman gives more and sometimes even more than she can give to this organization. I know the 1st thought in the morning and the last thought in the evening is Scenarios. I see the amount of dedication, sacrifice, time, and  work given to make this organization run. Looking back at this story Maura has had a hand directly or indirectly in picking every person I’ve spoken about. Maura can take credit as one of the architects in my life.

So when asked what the impact that Scenarios has had in my life I can truly say that the impact is active and ongoing. Scenarios is shaping who I am. Everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with for the past five years. All of you have had a hand in the creation of who am and who I am becoming. So the question remains am I a better person for it? How could I not be? Would be my answer.  

#myscenarios. Ensure a safe space for young people to flourish