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Study in Pink - Ericka

**While she is technically still on the path to her profession, I felt her story was worth telling. For some of it is more of a journey to find our place than for others.

“It was my goal in life to be beautiful,” she told me. Well my friend, I couldn’t help but think, you have reached your goal. Ericka Vega is a buddy that I’ve known for a couple of years now, and I wondered what she was up to these days. I messaged her on FaceBook and invited myself over for an interrogation… I mean an interview.

We sat in her backyard and relaxed as we talked. I asked her what work she was doing now and did I get an answer! She started off by telling me about her Mr. Dave. Years ago she started to clean his home a couple of times a month, for some extra income. That all changed when his physical needs changed. When he needed more of a caregiver, Ericka stepped up to the plate.

“God is pretty amazing,” she told me. What started off as a cleaning job, had turned into much more for her. Since she grew up without a dad, she feels blessed to have in Mr. Dave in her life as a bit of a father figure. Now, she takes him to appointments at Stanford, and gets him out of the house. She also is getting him involved in another area of her life, weight training.

Ericka has a small weight set up in her backyard, where Mike (her hubby) and she work out. She told me that she has also had some friends come and visit the “gym” to lift and be encouraged. You see for Ericka, it is not just about the physical, but about the spiritual as well. “When someone says I don’t want to be fat any more, weight is the easiest thing to fix.” Ericka said.

Where did this all come from? Well, it has been a journey to get here. About two years ago, Ericka took over a Stroller Bootcamp class at the base gym. When she started leading the class, she thought she was developing it as she went along. Instead she found out that God was developing her. As she met the women and assessed their needs, she realized that what they wanted was a “drill sergeant”, and she was happy to oblige. She also felt that it was a place where the spiritual needed to be encouraged. The class has morphed into a place where women can come and not only work out, but be encouraged, and even bring their kids. “We have space where the kids come, they play, they cry…it’s a mess,” she told me through the laughter, but “the rhythm works.” The more she talked to women about encouraging strength of both body and soul, the more she started to rethink her goals.

She even got me out in the “gym”.

You see, in 2016 going back to school was added to her plate, as her intention was to go back into federal service with a business degree. As time went on, that type of degree just didn’t seem to be the right path anymore, but what was? Ericka is now working towards entering the education field, and affecting the lives of young women through fitness. She believes that the school system, and physical education is a place where she can “be who she was created to be.” She has a vision to teach girls to have “fun and respect their bodies.” To not see themselves through the eyes of other people, but to see themselves through the lens of their own inherent value.

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