Thoughts from 2015 Youth of the Year Vanessa Rizo
- January 14, 2016
- Posted by: Andrew Cunningham
- Category: Happenings
Vanessa Rizo, Boys & Girls Club Santa Cruz Youth of the Year for 2015, brought tears to the eyes of attendees at the Great Futures Breakfast in November. As we look forward to the 2016 Youth of the Year event March 18, we wanted to share Vanessa’s inspiring words.
“I like many other young people in America have a dream for myself and have many dreams about what this great world and community could look like, should look like, and will look like after I and my generation have made our impact. I have a great future because of the hard work of my mother and the Boys & Girls Club. I will succeed academically and in life, and I will stop at nothing to achieve my goals.
I am proud to say I am going to become a probation officer, and my impact on the community will lead people in the right direction and help them become the type of people they never thought possible — caring, productive, responsible members of society. Strengthening our community, one step at a time, is my future and will be my legacy.
I see our community banding together to educate children and give them opportunities to be successful and achieve the age-old American dreams of their parents — that their children will do better than they did. In order to do this we need to shed light on a huge problem in our community: gang violence.
Watching my peers go down a path which could have been avoided is traumatic and heart-breaking. Losing my closest friends has been miserable, and I refuse to let this keep happening. My goal is to open the eyes of my peers and show them all the possibilities they can achieve, just like the Boys & Girls Club, who is helping me achieve mine.
Proving to my peers that getting your education is the most important item one can ever receive is a short-term, yet crucially important goal. Proving to my peers that drugs and gang violence will only end in one of two ways — death or prison — and bringing hope back into their lives and proving that they can too be a leader like myself, not only for themselves, but for their community, is my dream.
Thank you for coming and supporting the organization that has so tirelessly guided my journey.”