Articles Posted in Make a Difference

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Please mark your calendar for October 22nd, 2013, “Ethical Governance Day.” This is a day when the entire community and in particular our young people, need your assistance and commitment.

As we all are aware, South Florida seems to be plagued with a government that has left many of our citizens, young and old, with lingering doubts as to the integrity of our elected officials. Ethical Governance Day is a day when high school students across Miami-Dade County will be visited by community leaders who will deliver a message of hope and morality, emphasizing how civic participation at all levels has a positive impact on promoting ethical government.

Hundreds of civic minded volunteers have already signed up to speak to high school students on this very important day. The project is endorsed by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and the Miami-Dade County School Board and Lawyers to the Rescue.

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I remember my first flight like it was yesterday. The bright yellow rays of the sun blinding my eyes, the fight against gravity raising my tiny body above my seat. I had not a clue that I was being taken away from my paradigm of reality, shifted into a new world. The Third World.

The landing was rough. Rocks flew directly onto the airplane windows like hail and orange dirt left an imprint on my site. Nicaragua did not have much maintenance or upgrading done to the infrastructure at their airport. I was picked up by some aunts and uncles I was meeting for the first time. We drove out of the airport, into the streets of good old grief. At 7 years old, I was astonished by what I was seeing. Children my age were walking around barefoot, stepping on broken glass and old cigarette filters, clothing torn to pieces as if they’d been attacked by an animal, and their faces smeared in a mixture of sweat and dirt. At such a tender age, I was not able to fully grasp what was going on or where I was. I thought maybe it was just another world, a fake world, like the opposite of Disney maybe. But the more time I spent there, the more I realized, that sadly, this was REAL.

The older I got, the more curious I grew. I would constantly ask myself “how is this real? Why is this happening? Who did this? How can I change this?”. As crazy as this may sound, but at that age, I somehow knew there was something greater I could do to change this issue. I need to thank my parents for this experience, for without it I don’t know what I’d be doing with my life right now. I am pursuing law school to study International Law, as I feel strongly about helping unfortunate children and their families come out of their impoverished conditions. Every human being in this world is entitled to their basic rights; the right to food, to shelter, to health care and education, the right to pursuit a better, and happy life. I want to help make this happen for those children I saw starving and begging in the streets.

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“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late”. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mentoring is a movement that started back in the late 19th century with successful, friendly individuals visiting the children in poor communities and acting as role models. In 1904, Earnest K. Coulter founded Big Brothers, the first mentoring movement to reach out to children in need for guidance and to provide positive adult role models. Eventually this program became known as, “Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America.” For more than 100 years, Big Brothers/Big Sisters taught us to believe that “inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life,” and today Big Brothers/Big Sisters is the largest mentoring program in the world.

A mentor is a person who provides support, encouragement, inspiration, and helps redirect the focus of a young person to what is in young person’s interest. Mentoring not only helps to enhance self confidence in today’s youth, it also gives them a sense of belonging. National research has shown that positive relationships between children and their mentors have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives. Statistics have shown children are more confident in their schoolwork performance, are able to get along better with their families, are 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, and are 27% less likely to begin using alcohol and 52% less likely to skip school as a result of mentoring .1