The story of my life is the shy girl growing into the beautiful butterfly. Growing up I was a shy very introverted person. I was always the one to shy away from everything and everyone. Being a member of a family of 5 you always have people coming in and out of your house and life. I grew up around my sister mostly and learned most of what I know today from her. Being the baby of the family can have it’s advantages but can also mean you have to share mommy with what feels like a thousand other people. All my siblings are older then me which makes having relationships with them pretty difficult. So I spent a lot of time alone. When it came to making friends in school I hung out with the quiet kids and the friends I gained early on. One thing my parents always put in me was to always be proud of my culture and who I was. Being Native American & African American my parents would take me to many different events and festivals to expose me to my heritage as much as possible. School was always a challenge for me and I always had a general dislike for it. When I was in 6th grade I found out I had dyslexia, which is why school had always been so difficult. Getting the help I need to be successful was great but I was still shy living life through my head. One thing that got me lively was traveling. Growing up my parents took me to different places like Guatemala & Prague. Being in a different country around different people learning there culture and customs is very fascinating to me. I went through the rest of school generally happy but still very to myself. When I was a junior in high school I started a club called the Native American Club. We had a good run for about 2 years with about 8 members. It wasn’t much but it was my first thing were I had to be the boss and call the shots. After high school I took a year off and joined this national service program called AmeriCorps. You go to a base camp, learn training for a month then you get put on a team of about 8-12 people and you travel to different states in the US and do service projects. When I first left home for AmeriCorps I was nerve because this was my first time being on my own. Going to a new state and meeting new people was scary, but I faced my fears head on. This program really helped me to learn about myself and learn to trust others and myself. At first when I got there I let my shy side show but as the months went on the shy me had left the building. Through the many projects we had to do, I learned to concur my fears head on and let myself live life. By the end of the year I had become a favorite among many and gained many new friends whom have now become like family. Helping build a house for a hurricane victim or playing a board game with a sick child are defiantly some experiences I will treasure always. With my new found confidence I had gained while being away for a year I started my internship in DC. I worked for a non-profit helping farmers. I had to help keep my bosses head from exploring which at times can be a challenge but went for it head on, from helping on Capital Hill to meeting important deadlines I did it all. I have more confidence in my new life and I’m not as shy anymore and the new me is very proud of how far I have come. The song I feel describes how far I have come is “Strength, Courage and Wisdom” by India Arie. I feel this song represents the story of my life by saying how I was once afraid to let my self be out in the world and let people see the real me but I have finally opened up my heart to let people in and take risks while feeling that if I open my self up and let people in it can turn out to be something amazing. I now work with the youth food justice leadership organization called Rooted In Community and I go to school part-time. I am still trying to figure my path from here but I think that’s the perks of growing up!