College: Kingsborough Community College
Who am I? That is a question I ask myself frequently. The truth is, who I am cannot be defined by words alone, and that is something I take great pride in. Who I am is always evolving, and unfolds with each passing moment.
As of now, I am a young Latina woman who is aspiring to become a Social Worker. I come from a family who for many reasons did not, or could not, pursue a higher education, which seemed fine to everyone including me. I was raised in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the area, where violence and despair were to be expected, and dreams and settings goals for oneself were not.
“The odds are that in ten years the person who is sitting next to you now will either be in jail, on drugs or dead…There is no hope if there is no education - when we stop learning, we start dying.” These were words spoken by my sixth grade teacher while we were sitting in class one day. He asked our class to remember that statement, and I did. He told us that most people expected, and even hoped, that we would fail because we are the minority. That day was a wake up call for me, and I knew from then on that I had to succeed so that I could help others. Growing up in that environment, it would have been easy to fall into the hopelessness that surrounded me; however, I made a promise to myself that I would not. I had the privilege of watching and interacting with strong leaders - teachers, pastors, and counselors. Their words and deeds helped to shape the direction of my life, and have given me the confidence that I am on the right path to becoming a strong leader. From my experience, I have realized my desire to change the dynamics of areas like Brownsville, and I hope to both influence and become a mentor to those like me who did not have strong family support. It is my goal to create a community wellness center, where not only the mental, physical, and nutritional needs of youth can be met, but as a place where their aspirations can be realized.
By guiding me on my journey to self discovery, NYNY acts as an example of the strong communities I strive to build. With the support and attention I get through the program, and especially through my Mentor-Coach, I am always challenged to reach my full potential.