Y-PLAN New York City Student, Yessica Carela, from The Academy for Language and Technology in The Bronx recently reflected on what brought her to Y-PLAN. Read her story here!
My Motivation to join Y-PLAN was that Y-PLAN is not like a regular after school program. In Y-PLAN I have been able to learn new things about my community that I didn't have a clue existed. For me, the first motivation to enter Y-PLAN was to help my community and learn things about it. Through the years that I’ve been in Y-PLAN I can actually say that I have achieved what I wanted from Y-PLAN and I will keep doing it.
What surprised me during Y-PLAN is that I found out more of what I thought about my community. As an example, when our Y-PLAN group went to St. Mary's Recreation Center we thought that everything was fine because they have a lot of activities for people under 18. So we decided to do a survey in the neighborhood where the recreation center is. But when we went in deep asking the people about it they told us that the St. Mary's Recreation Center was not safe and a lot of crimes have happened around the area.
The skills that I have gained during Y-PLAN are my communication and socializing with people that I don't know, especially when we were doing surveys. Also I got better with my public speaking because all the presentations that we made after we analyzed the data for St. Mary’s Recreation Center. In Y-PLAN we all share our opinion and our opinions matter and direct the activities that we engage with in Y-PLAN. Listening to others was a huge skill as well.
My biggest challenge in Y-PLAN was to present our presentation about the St. Mary Recreation Center because I get so nervous when I need to talk in front of people. But since, Y-PLAN allow me speak and give my opinion on every issue or topic that we are discussing. So now, I am overcoming that fear.
The perception of myself in the community has changed because we need to present and develop more and more public speaking skills. I have be able to earn a voice in my community and what I say will matter and people will hear me. By speaking out in my community I will understand the ways that I can help them and as a group we will come out with a possible solution. I’m an immigrant and I feel like after I joined Y-PLAN my voice matters even more because I am actually doing something for me and also for my community too.
-Yessica Carela, Y-PLAN Student, The Bronx