When You Listen to Young People, Great Things Can Happen

Mar 5, 2014

This post is by Noemi Rodriguez, a member of AmeriCorps VISTA, an AmeriCorps program that focuses on helping communities out of poverty. Rodriguez is serving through Corps18, a Points of Light program that supports VISTA members addressing chronic absenteeism across the country.

miguel.jpgSylmar Biotech Health Academy student Miguel shows his funny side during a painting project.

Miguel stood out to me as soon as I started my service here at Sylmar Biotech Health Academy, near Los Angeles. He always hung around the school offices after school and was not in the least bit shy around us newbies.

Not long after our first day of work Miguel approached me with a request – to create a school drama club. He definitely had a vision and a goal and knew what he wanted. I really liked that about him and appreciated it.

Miguel is not the best student, in terms of grades, but he is very much involved with the school and is incredibly smart and imaginative.

After completing all the paperwork necessary for there to be a drama club in our school Miguel got to work, letting me know that we needed to start advertising the club and raising money so that the club could have some funds for props.

Miguel is always thinking ahead and always ready to work. As we created the drama club, he was full of ideas. And after our first adventure working together, Miguel became my go-to adviser.

A lot of the time he amazes me with some of the things he suggests, not only for the drama club but for other school activities as well. I now search Miguel out when I want to share an idea for a new program. His focus and commitment to his creative vision has really inspired me and has made a huge difference in how I run and create programming for this school.

They are no longer my programs or my ideas but the students’ as well. Not only that, but the connections I have made with Miguel and students like him at Sylmar Biotech Health Academy have provided me with the drive and motivation I need to get a job like mine done.

Sylmar Biotech Health Academy is operated by the Youth Policy Institute, which provides education, training and technology services to lift Los Angeles families out of poverty.