Quote of the Month...

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one. ~ Mother Teresa

Monday, April 9, 2012

Leaders in Service: Fernanda Agnes

The ServiceCorps at IUPUI  have been covering social issues this year. Fernanda Agnes and two other members, Chris Huff and Gabby Mendoza, researched the topic of youth. Although that may seem general, Agnes and her teammates broke it down into three specific topics. Agnes let us know in a Q&A session why she chose this topic.

Fernanda Agnes, member of the IUPUI ServiceCorps

Q: What made you decide to cover youth?
A: I decided to cover social issues involving youth because I believe that the youth of today is the future of tomorrow. Therefore if we invest in their well-being and education, perhaps we will see a better world for the generations to come after them.

Q: What specifically about youth are you focusing on when covering this social issue?
A: The topic Youth is very broad social issue. As Service Corps Leaders we were paired in groups that share the same social issue for each month. Within my particular group we all felt a good personal connection with different specific issues that involve youth and especially children. One of us focused on children with disabilities, another person focused on youth hunger and homelessness.

For me, I am particularly concerned with the level of education given to the young generations.  Considering so many different hardships some of our children suffer these days. Having a meaningful and quality education is key for all of them to develop into adults who are confident on whom they are and that they are just as great as anyone else.

In order to accomplish a world of equal opportunities for all, we need to give our youngsters the tools to develop themselves and consequently go after all the existing opportunities out there, and even create new opportunities. When children are offered good education and support, they will grow up to be a strong person no matter what other types of adversity they had to deal with throughout their childhood. We need to give every child the certainty that they matter, and we believe in them. So they can “be” the bright future they aspire to be!

Q: What organization are you serving at that help youth?
A: I have worked with charter schools in Indianapolis that deal with the specific issue of offering good quality education to underprivileged children. The work they do is amazing! I grew up in a society that had a very strong mind set toward the fact that children who go to public schools will not have the same chances as the ones that are privileged enough to afford private school.

I wanted to grow up and prove that we all have the capability and suitability for all the same opportunities if we apply ourselves to it, and most importantly, if we have someone to tell us at a young age that they believe in us. So watching these schools being so passionate about giving all the necessary tools for these children to succeed, regardless of their current social or economic situation, is a dream come true to me! The first step to growing generations that don’t feel they “need” to rely on welfare because the society may believe they are doomed to failure if they were born into a family that has little to no economic power, is to empower every child.

I volunteered one day in one of these schools, coming in to talk to children from kindergarten through fourth grade about my college experience. It sounded odd to me at first, but once I was there, having a conversation with all these kids about what they expect from college and seeing that unlike me at that age, they know they have the chance to get higher education, and they are encouraged to do so, made my heart beat faster! To see their little eyes shining because some stranger cares enough about them to sit down on the floor and just give them the attention that is so vital in building their confidence was priceless. I had the most caring hugs on my way out!

Q: What can you do, as an individual, to help with this issue? Is it something that applies to your major?
A: This issue doesn’t really apply to my major, but it is close to my heart. So I will always do anything within my reach and beyond to support quality education and empowerment for children.

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