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Audrie Gordon

Episode 131

Climbing Back up in San Gabriel

Audrie Gordon was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley.

She grew up in South San Gabriel and attended school in the area. Right after graduating from Schurr High in Montebello she had her first son and wasn’t sure what her next step should be. Not having any solid goals or guidance she began to get in more trouble and ended up in a downward spiral.

Despite the trials she was always surrounded with people who were willing to share advice and encouragement. At 23 she decided to make some changes and began utilizing resources such as church, Homeboy Industries, twelve step programs and counseling to build a better life for her and her son.

Today she has five children, loves being a mom in the San Gabriel Valley and is working on her MSW. Her goal is to build a violence and suicide prevention program for youth in the San Gabriel Valley.

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Audrie Gordon Takeaways

  • Audrie Gordon is born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley
  • Due to rampant drugs on her street, Audire’s life spiraled in her late teens and early twenties
  • Audrie had her first child at the age of 19
  • Eventually, Audrie made significant life choices and utilized resources such as churches, Homeboy Industries, and 12-step programs
  • Today, Audrie Gordon works at the Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena
  • “It seemed like everywhere I would go, I would meet these people. Even if I was at the craziest places, I would meet these people who just saw something in me, and they would tell me hey, Audrey, you can go to school. You can do this. You can do that. And kinda push me to do the right thing.”
  • “So they moved out here and my mom grew up here. She really never lived anywhere else but that little house in San Gabriel. And pretty much our family followed, so our street became very much like all family.”
  • “I remember our elementary school being shut down for some time, maybe, I wanna say, like, in the 4th grade, because people were going to Patrol Heights Park, playing handball, playing basketball, but there were people also leaving their needles there because that was during the heroin epidemic.”
  • “I knew I wanted something better, And I knew that I needed probably to get off of that street because it was like everybody was just doing the same thing. And I think my house became so dysfunctional because by that time, you know, it was me and my brothers.”
  • “I never wanted to stop learning. And I think that that’s kind of what’s made me pursue everything – just that passion to learn and wonder how I can be better so that I can help other people be better.
  • “Never underestimate your worth and what you’re worthy of or what you’re capable of. Because we, as mothers, we’re capable of anything when it comes to bettering our kids’ situation, we’re capable of anything. And, there are resources out there even when it seems like there’s not and not all hope is gone.”

What is Audrie’s connection to the San Gabriel Valley?

Audrie was born in Huntington Memorial in Pasadena. She is a proud SGVer and has spent her entire life in the San Gabriel Valley. She lived there until she was about 22 years old. Now she lives in North Whittier.


What was life like growing up in San Gabriel Valley for Audrie Gorden?

Audrie describes it as pretty crazy. Her family has been in the SGV since the 1960s. Her grandfather was very much into horses and a marine. A large portion of her family moved to the SGV, so their street became mostly family. Her extended family was very close and did a lot of activities together. As a child, Audrie went to Potrero Heights Elementary School.


What kind of struggles did Audrie face having a mixed background?

Having a mixed background, Audrie found it difficult to find her identity. In her words, she had a dad who dropped her off at school while listening to country music, and her mother was a major hippy. She had difficulty trying to discover exactly where she fit in. Not only with Audrie’s family, but her friends, too. Many of the kids that grew up around her were half-Mexican, half-caucasian.


Was it rare to have a white father growing up in a Hispanic neighborhood?

Audrie found it fairly rare. They were also a rare family culturally. Belief-wise and religion-wise, they were just very different. Audrie did not grow up speaking Spanish like many of her peers. But everything worked out. Her father found is place in their family, and everyone in Audrie’s family was very accepting of one another. 


Did Audrie Gordon have much of a curfew growing up?

Not really. Audrie’s grandparents lived only a house away. So they were up, playing baseball outside with no curfew with the grandparents around since her parents were working a lot. 


What careers did Audrie’s parents have?

Audrie’s dad was a lineman for Pacific Bell, and then he started his own business. Then, he ended his career working for ADT. Audrie’s mother was always a bookkeeper, which she did for mortgage companies. Now, she is a bookkeeper in Pomona for a family center. 


Was south San Gabriel a tough place to grow up?

Audrie confirms that South San Gabriel was an extremely tough place to grow up. She essentially lived on a big party street. And partying can become an addiction of sorts. She remembers her elementary school being shut down because people were going to this park to play handball and basketball, but there were tons and tons of needs everywhere because it was during the heroin epidemic. Hearing helicopters flying around at all hours of the night and shootings was commonplace. 


Was Audrie Gordon able to escape this lifestyle?

Unfortunately, she was not. Right after high school, Audrie had a period where she felt stuck in life and gravitated toward all of the dysfunction that her street offered. She had and saw no hope. Very few of her cousins went off to college, and Audrie didn’t feel like she’d be able to succeed in that. Audrie also had a child pretty young, as soon as she turned 19. 


What drugs did Audrie find herself taking the most?

She admits that she did a little bit of everything. During her generation, methamphetamine was very popular in San Gabriel. This eventually shifted to opioid pills and many fell into the heroin epidemic. Although, Audrie admits that she never truly enjoyed taking drugs. It was more so the peer pressure surrounding her and the activities.


How was it raising a child at 19?

They didn’t move out until her son was four years old. After that, they would still go and see his uncles, grandmother, grandfather, and so on. So, he’s always been around the street and its dysfunction. It was scary raising him, not only because Audrie Gordon was young but she was still in school. Audrie acknowledges that she was very strict with her son, and there were parts of his life where he started to rebel. 


How is Audrie’s son doing now?

Audrie Gordon’s son is doing great now. He had his moments of struggling, but ultimately he went to Homeboy Industries to finish High School. Audrie highly recommends their youth program. So, he finished school there and is interested in both art, jiu-jitsu, and surfing. He also got into a nonprofit in LA. He currently works at the UFC gym in Rosemead.


What message does Audrie Gordon have for single mothers who may be in a difficult situation?

Audrie would tell them to never underestimate their worth or what they are capable of. As a mother, they are capable of anything when it comes to bettering their children or their situation. Also, be aware that there are resources to help you. 


How is Audrie Gordon’s self-image?

At this point, it has grown tremendously. She used to have a lot of self-doubt and suffered from imposter syndrome, which she admits she still experiences from time to time. 


What is Audrie Gordon currently doing for work?

Audrie is with the Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena. She has worked with them for about seven years. 

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Audrie Gordon

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