¡Adelante! Youth – Success stories

    Recently, I had the honor of being accepted to Northeastern University. It has been my dream for several years because of its outstanding co-op program. At Northeastern, I plan on studying international business where my English, Spanish, and French will become beneficial. I also plan on taking computer engineering. I know that there are not that many female and Hispanic engineers and I would like to be amongst the few to be successful.

    Being part of various community programs has opened the doors for major important opportunities. My whole life has changed and it is all thanks to these small community-based organizations.

    During my first year at Lawrence Community Works (LWC), I was given the opportunity to take a leadership role as the President of Individual Development Accounts (IDA) which has allowed my voice to be heard. I also took part in the Leadership Committee where I took notes on how and when to do fund-raisers, business expos, PowerPoint presentations, etc. I love having that feeling of having people there listening to my ideas and see that they actually cared. Not only did IDA help me save money for college but it also taught me a lot. I have learned about opening saving and checking accounts, the importance of asset building, goal setting, and organizational skills.

    During the beginning of my senior year I got involved with the College Prep Course which also helped me out tremendously. I remember the time when a staff member offered to proofread my college essay. This is one of those moments that will carry with you for the rest of your life. We were there for hours working on it. Then came my college search and applications. I remember coming in after work and just being there, tired and restless to finish, but with the encouragement of the staff telling me that things would work out, I continued my long search for the perfect school.

    I have surpassed all the Latino stereotypes by becoming involved and committed to the program. Through my many years at the center, and being faced with various challenges such as putting together a business expo within only a few weeks of notice, I have learned valuable leadership abilities that will aid me in starting my own programs later in the future.

    My other community involvement has been for a variety of other community-based agencies. Having an older sister was something I always wanted, so I decided to take part in the Big Brother/Big Sister Association. I soon became aware of the enormous responsibility of being a role model to a thirteen-year-old who is going through tremendous emotional complications.

    My commitment to the ¡Adelante! Youth Center during these past five years has been in helping children with their math and reading skills. Nothing compares to the great feeling of helping younger kids from Lawrence in a tutoring/mentoring program where they go to do homework and have fun. At ¡Adelante! I was also part of their first year Leadership Committee. There we would talk about how to make the center a better and enjoyable place for the kids.

    I believe that my effort towards community service has had a huge impact in our community, especially in a small inner city such as Lawrence, where people’s expectations of their youngsters are not that high.

   Jesenia Tejada

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