Published : Wednesday, March 27, 2019 | 1:02 PM
Leadership Pasadena Community Leadership Course for Veterans 2018 graduate USAF veteran Itzel Barakat was honored by Forest Lawn as one of three 2019 Women of Vision.
Forest Lawn established this award to further the careers of young women in the arts and honor their early achievements. Awards were given to Barakat, a photographer, along with dancer Jayln Flowers and art historian Mya Chau at an International Women’s Day special event celebrating women on the evening of March 6, 2019.The event coincided with Forest Lawn Museum’s current exhibition Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment, which is traveled and organized by the National Geographic Society. For an opportunity to learn more about Barakat, she will speak about her experiences as a veteran during Forest Lawn—Glendale’s Field of Honor week-long Memorial Day educational series. The event, which will be held from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM on May 21, 2019, is presented by Glendale Sunrise Rotary.
Itzel Barakat grew up in California and Central America. At an early age she developed a deep passion for photography, music, and writing. Itzel served for six years in the United States Air Force. In 2007-2009, Itzel deployed overseas, serving two tours in Afghanistan and one tour in South East Asia. After her service, she moved back to California where she worked with the federal service as a Wildland Firefighter with the United States Forest Service, pursued a higher education, and became certified in sustainable agriculture.
Several years later, she experienced the death of her father and a multitude of challenges that resulted in emotional, financial, and housing difficulties. She was introduced to equine therapy at War Horse Creek in Idyllwild, CA. As Izzy says, “There are no words to explain or express the level of healing that I have experienced with equine therapy. Horses have the ability to holistically and introspectively connect with individuals who have experienced trauma Their intuition as a prey animal allows for them to provide biofeedback to us as human beings, granting us the opportunity to not only learn how to heal but to dig deeper in the healing process and experience a lasting and permanent change.”
In 2018 Izzy graduated from Leadership Pasadena’s inaugural Community Leadership Course for Veterans. She currently volunteers with a Type II fire crew as a training officer, training young firefighters year-round and preparing them for fire season. She also writes and takes pictures for War Horse Creek, a non-profit that provides equine therapy for veterans and serves on Leadership Pasadena’s Veterans Services Committee.
Leadership Pasadena’s Community Leadership Course for Veterans began in 2018. The program is designed for veterans ready and eager to serve and lead again; it fast-tracks their success as effective leaders in the community. Participants personally engage with area business, government, and community leaders to gain a comprehensive understanding of today’s civilian leadership culture, the civilian business landscape, and the area’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling them to take on community leadership roles within the San Gabriel Valley.
The CLCV re-missions high potential, service-driven military veterans to use their military skills and experiences to serve the region as leaders in non-profit, civic, government, and service organizations and successfully integrates veterans into their post-military civilian life—powerfully benefiting both the veteran and the community.
Leadership Pasadena is taking applications for the 2019 Community Leadership Course for VeteransTM. at www.leadershippasadena.org