How I broke from my sheltered life growing up and learned empathy to better help others

Growing up, I came from a tale of 2 families. One was a side where my mom’s family were trade workers. This meant welders, seamstresses, bead makers, etc. My Dad’s side were more investors and teachers. My grandma on this side came from a wealthy family. When I stayed the summers with this side of my family growing up, I was sheltered from many of the ills of society. I didn’t ever feel at home with this side of the family either, due to some things I will not discuss.

This changed for the better when I joined AmeriCorps at age 20. I joined a government-sponsored program that had me go out and help others. I helped many in unfortunate circumstances, whether this be trail building in poorer communities or helping people recover from Hurricane Sandy. While I ended the program with a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth, I would recommend the program to those looking to make a difference. It’s how we move forward and help humanity progress. We start from the bottom up, we take care of those at the bottom, so that we can have a more stable society.

During the past 2 years, I have been resisting the invasion of toxic industrials in my neighborhood. I have also been working on getting more trees planted for food, shade and making our neighborhood cleaner. I know that making the community stronger will give me more pride but will also serve to make the area more structurally sound as well. I write flyers, articles and zines to educate the community on what is happening, both in English and Spanish. I want the community to know what is happening.

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