I learned a lot about myself throughout the summer. [AALEAD] helped me develop better leadership skills. Before this I also didn’t realize how big of an impact I could be on people younger than me, so I took that as motivation to become a positive role model. Through this experience, I also learned that teamwork is essential to make things like this happen. The idea of teamwork is something that applies to life in general as well, and [AALEAD] opened me up to be able to work with others in a timely and productive manner. This journey was overall a great one for me and it’s great that we combined having fun and learning to work hand-in-hand.
I first joined AALEAD in seventh grade. At first, I was skeptical on whether I should come to [AALEAD] or not because I was still worried about my comprehension of the English language and American culture. However, to my surprise, the people in the program welcomed me with open arms and they helped me gain more social skills. [AALEAD] made me realize that even though there is prejudice in this country, the United States is a melting pot and it’s okay to be different because each of us is special in our own way. [AALEAD also] taught me how to stay healthy, and active, how to express myself and know my identity, and how to be more aware of political issues happening around us. As I entered my third year with AALEAD, I felt that everyone in the program had become my second family; they had supported me and encouraged me to do my best at everything and I am grateful that I had joined the program. As one of my friends once said, ‘One reason I came to school on Monday was because we have AALEAD today’.
AALEAD has definitely shown me a new direction of life and that if I just be myself others will accept me. I came into AALEAD thinking I needed to be perceived as something great, but [AALEAD] helped me realize that I don’t need to try to be something that’s not me. I am great in my own different way and I think this will definitely change the way I act towards people. Lately, I have been trying to be someone else when I’m with certain people. But now, that’s all definitely going to change.
AALEAD definitely taught me self confidence and social skills, as well as taking a stand in becoming a leader, or at least guiding others in need. Having AALEAD friends close to me, learning about life and meeting friends and people with a range of various backgrounds and lives gave me humility and empathy towards anyone who isn’t as fortunate or as predisposed to my more suitable life. Comparing my life to many more not as content as I am, it gave me a sense of duty to help the less fortunate or at least be there for them, because when someone’s in their lowest point in their lives, it would always help to be there for them.