YES Student Guest Blog – Making a Community to Be Proud Of

Sahara Estrada Hernandez is all smiles as she works on her résumé during a guest workshop by San Diego Workforce Partnership's CONNECT2Careers program.

Sahara Estrada Hernandez is all smiles as she works on her résumé during a guest workshop by San Diego Workforce Partnership’s CONNECT2Careers program.

By Sahara Estrada Hernandez, Mesa Community College

Growing up in Southeastern San Diego has allowed me to experience the world much differently than other people my age. In the past I feared seeking out other people who wanted to create change in this underrepresented part of our city.

Despite having people who I admire and consider my role models in striving for change, such as my middle school counselor Mr. Chaves, Malala Yousafzai, and even my own parents, sometimes I have moments when I believe that even with the support of these people I can’t make a change in my life or in the lives of others in my community. I stay determined by looking at the back of my favorite shirt with Malala Yousafzai’s quote that reads, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

As a result, I joined the Youth Engaging Southeastern San Diego (YES) program to pay it forward to the countless people in my life who have motivated me to seek a path that can nurture the potential my community has to offer and make my community shine above the negative images the media has portrayed it with for years.

YES Students participated in skills building activities in leadership, effective communication, community engagement, and workforce readiness during weekly check-ins.

YES Students participated in skills building activities in leadership, effective communication, community engagement, and workforce readiness during weekly check-ins.

My purpose is not to make a community I can be proud of saying I’m from, but instead create a place where others who are growing up today can be proud to be from. I want the next generation to recognize the effort everyone has put into creating a welcoming home, something that once was thought impossible but no longer is thanks to the dedication and input of its inhabitants who helped with something as simple as filling out a survey on the change they wanted to see. I can be the voice for people who, because of fear or even the inability to make themselves heard as the result of the challenges they’ve faced in their lives, couldn’t communicate their ideals and abilities and contribute to making their community shine.

Where I’m from, here in the Diamond Neighborhoods, there is change waiting to happen. There are people just like you and me who want to make this community we call home into a stronghold of opportunity for our families and future generations.

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