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Age 19, City Heights

I’m funny and awkward. I love doing photography. I really want to be an elementary school teacher because I like working with small children. I want to see how they grow up and thrive.

Right now, I’m volunteering at a program that helps low-income families and their kids. It feels like a small family. A lot of these kids have migrant parents, so they’re dealing with that difficulty at the moment. A lot of them go to schools that are further out, and this program helps the kids realize they can go to college. It also helps the parents complete their education as well. Some of the parents stopped going to school in 3rd grade, and this program helps them get their GED.

Programs like this are important so that youth have an outlet and something to do after school. These centers are welcoming, and youth feel like they’re wanted. When I was younger, I did Teen Producers Project, and we did social justice film projects about food justice and homelessness. When we wanted more halal food in City Heights schools, we went out there and interviewed kids and experts who that said it wouldn’t be expensive to include halal options. I’ve also done short films about gambling, smoking and drinking.

We are going to be the leaders, we’re just waiting to come into our own.

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