Recently at the Girls For A Change Silicon Valley friend-raising house party... one of our amazing young women, Iliana spoke. I have pasted her powerful words below:
These past two years in high school Girls For a Change has been an important part of my life.Through Girls For a Change, I have been able to evolve and learn new ways of how I can help my community. As a woman I learned to give myself my place in society and to speak my opinions. I learned not to be afraid of who I am, but to be proud of being a woman of hispanic heritage. I learned that solving a problem is not just putting a band-aid over it to cover up the wound, but to actually create a cure to eventually heal it.
You may be wondering of how I came to know about G.F.C. I was informed through a friend about a fieldtrip that was only for girls. I asked what the fieldtrip was about, but they weren't sure. I was intrigued to find out what it was about, so I also went to get a permission slip. Once I got to the convention center on the day of the fieldtrip, I was really excited to be there with my friends. Once inside I learned that it was a Summit that recruited teams to attend from different schools. During this Summit they had entertainment, activities, and workshops.
After the day was over I felt inspired and eager to be part of a G.F.C. team at my high school. Through this team, Team #47, we started a project known as G.P.6. (Gang Prevention for 6th graders). We decided to do this project because we have seen how destructive gangs can be and how they have taken over the lives of the youth. The East Side has always been labeled as ghetto as well as my high school. we are just a group of young girls looking for an opportunity to shine and to show the world that "ghetto" can make a difference. So through this project we hope to share our dreams of a better future for the coming youth. The 1st skit is about the consequences of being in a gang and the 2nd skit portrays the lives of two young girls who made a positive or negative decision based upon the same situation. Facts are also included in our presentation:
- 75% of gang members are Latino
- Getting your high school diploma will earn you a million dollars more than those who don't recieve it.
- Within San Jose, CA there are 40 different gangs with 800 active gang members.
There is also question and answer with the audience and at the end of the presentation we all talk about our personal experiences with gangs. This year we are continuing this project and plan to expand it. Not just in our community, but to other schools around San Jose. Since we live in the middle of a war between Surenos and Nortenos we hope that our knowledge to inform them will help them make better future choices and if a life can be saved then
it would all have been worth it. As a team we hope that this project continues after we are gone from high school and hope that it inspires others to dream big and make a difference.
Way to go, Iliana!!