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Since Elementary school I have had a clear vision of what I wanted to do with my life. That vision, coupled with my own struggles and experiences, has given rise to a deep passion for helping at-risk youth find their purpose in life and change their circumstances from improbable to undeniable. I envision myself being a vital instrument in the effort to help transient and homeless youth find safe, stable homes filled with love, and a family that will embrace them as their own. Through my involvement in the Youth Advocate Program, I was able to gain an invaluable new perspective; one that allowed me to see that at-risk youth, such as myself, could have their lives positively impacted through Mentoring, Advocacy, and positive influence.
Upon entering YAP, I shared the mind state and thought process of the kids with which I aspire to work. I was determined to learn life's lessons in the hardest way possible. Seeing this as my primary challenge, my YAP Advocate worked tirelessly to help me overcome what he saw to be the root of my problems. I'll be forever indebted to my advocate because he taught me how to overcome obstacles that to that point had seemed insurmountable; things like dishonesty, ungratefulness, lack of discipline, and most of all, hopelessness. Though my metamorphosis was not instant, I am grateful that my Advocate had the resolve to stick with me through the valleys and peaks while simultaneously supplying me with hope, steady guidance, and a litany of tools needed to effectively work towards my goals.
Seeing the need for hands-on experience, my Advocate strongly urged me to become a volunteer Peer Mentor. He explained how it would be the first step towards giving back to my community, while simultaneously giving back to the program that fostered my personal metamorphosis. While serving as a Peer Mentor for YAP, my aspirations to become a Social Worker were firmly reinforced as I was able to affect change, at least to a small degree, while still myself undergoing a transformation. After graduation from Middlesex County College, I plan to complete my undergraduate studies at a 4-year institution, en route to obtaining an advanced degree (MSW). My Advocate also taught me the value of clearly defining my goals; both short term and long term. In my young adult life, I have already found this to be an invaluable tool. Having defined goals keeps me motivated in that I always feel as if my actions have a purpose. I look forward to the day that I am able to walk across the stage, taking the first step towards success. When that day comes, I will have my Advocate to thank for his constant motivation, and his unwavering belief in me long before I believed in myself.