How it all began: Back in 2009, when I graduated college, I had a vision. After volunteering at a local organization in Providence, Rhode Island, I realized that my purpose was to work with underprivileged, at-risk youth. Not knowing how, I started on a path of fulfilling my dreams. I then took the journey of working at different schools. To my surprise, there was a lack of mentoring and showing our youth that there is more in the world outside of their neighborhoods or environment. I then came up with the idea of a mentorship program for life that would instill a sense of family that was lacking in many of my mentees’ lives. That is where Ms. Hillary’s organization was born. We are not just any other program, we are a family that holds each other accountable, expects nothing but the best and a commitment to passing it forward for generations to come. Our youth is our future. They are our future leaders, doctors, politicians, engineers, musicians, entrepreneurs and artists. Every mentee is a rose waiting to bloom, even if grown from the cracks of the concrete. Ultimately, we are an organization designed to empower & bring hope to youth & young adults by helping them find their purpose through mentoring & acts of kindness.
Through my youth, I was inspired as well for the idea of Project Break Free, an annual summer summit unifying at-risk youth from different areas where they are not only empowered but can share experiences and freely discuss topics that affect them such as poverty, racism, discrimination, social injustice, inequality and how to address and overcome.
If we don’t believe in them, where will our world be? We must look beyond the exterior, beyond the media and society’s portrayal of “urban, underprivileged kids”.
Having grown up in an urban setting and raised by my single mother who emigrated from Colombia, I utilize my experiences to connect with my mentees. At first hand, I understand what it is to always be told what I couldn’t become or achieve versus being told that no dream is too big and that the sky’s the only limit. I believe that with the right mentorship, the right tools and acts of kindness, there is nothing that my mentees cannot accomplish.
As Mahatma Gandhi once eloquently said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, I endeavor to change the world through my students and each person I encounter, one at a time.