Beyond the Badge, Employee Wellness

Counselor inspires others to take next step

A group of smiling people stand in front of concrete stairs.
Correctional Counselor Charles Esguerra, in the foreground, helps others get fit by climbing the stairs at the San Diego Convention Center.

By Lt. Jennifer Davies

As you leave Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, located in a rural area of San Diego, you have a number of major freeways within minutes. These major freeways can take you to all different types of places such as home, happy hour, the beach, the mountains and the list goes on. However, there is one staff member who encourages co-workers to take Interstate 5 and head to the San Diego Convention Center.

Correctional Counselor Charles Esguerra has been working for the department for 12 years. For five years, he has made it a habit to incorporate weekly team workouts into his routine.  

Prison employees such as officers, captains, counselors, teachers, nurses, psychologists, fire department personnel, office technicians, pharmacy technicians and others have been inspired enough to join Counselor Esguerra. With Esguerra’s high energy, he has motivated all these staff members to face the challenge of taking one more stair of the daunting 10 sets of 100 stairs.

When asked what inspires him to train others, Esguerra said, “I love seeing people doing well, getting better and growing. It feels great to be a part of a person’s growth process: seeing them improve, becoming more confident, and putting in effort. When I was obese, I didn’t realize how much I was missing out on experiencing life. I was tired, not flexible enough, not confident enough, not motivated to do much. I think everyone wants to feel great and capable.” 

When Esguerra was just 12 years old, he weighed over 200 pounds. Today he’s an appropriate weight, making him an example for staff.

Esguerra chose the Convention Center because of the variation of stairs. San Diego, with great weather year-round, hosts new conventions almost weekly. While walking the stairs, it give participants an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and hear their stories.