Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - March/April 2016 - (Page 18)

EMPOWERED TO MA IN THE CIVIC LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE (CLI), STUDENTS EXPLORE COMPLEX CHALLENGES THAT AFFECT OUR COMMUNITIES AND LEARN HOW THEY CAN HELP. HERE, TWO STUDENTS WHO PARTICIPATED IN CLI-ONE AT CTY, AND THE OTHER AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY'S CENTER FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT-SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES. Redefining Privilege by Luisa Apolaya Last year, as I planned my ninth summer at CTY, my mother reminded me of my new position as president of my school's chapter of the California Scholarship Federation. Wouldn't a leadership course prepare me for that position? The Civic Leadership Institute, at UC Berkeley, promised to give me the knowledge and skills to make a difference in the world. It sounded perfect. When we arrived at CLI, the teacher explained the goal of the program: to help students appreciate the privilege we have and identify ways to use it to help others. This concept was eye-opening to me, because as a Latina, a female, and an immigrant, I didn't see myself as privileged. However, through discussions, videos, and field experiences, the instructors showed me that I have much to be thankful for-including a home and an education-and that I can help others who don't have these things. In class, we learned how the poverty line was defined in 1963, by multiplying by three the amount the average American spent on food. That's because one-third of Americans' income at that time went toward food. Today we pay more for housing, transportation, and medical insurance than food, but the way we define poverty remains unchanged. Consequently, many "middle class" families struggle just to afford school lunches. We also discussed how public policy can perpetuate the cycle of poverty. In Berkeley, for example, a law had passed prohibiting homeless people from sitting or lying on the sidewalk. Those who did would be fined. When they couldn't pay the fines, they would be jailed. Having a criminal record would make it harder to get a job and move out of poverty. The program gave us the opportunity to work with people affected by these forces. Volunteering at a soup kitchen, I came face to face with the homeless people my mom had been careful to shield me from. My job was to greet the people it served. The manager said this might be the only kind word they received all day, so as they entered, I gave them my biggest smile. It was Monday, and many hadn't eaten all weekend. Many were dirty and unshaven, some As one of several service projects, Luisa (fifth from left) and fellow CLI students collected trash and pulled weeds at a reservation. were on drugs, but they were all hungry. Helping these men and women made my heart feel warm. Speakers included people affected by poverty, including former substance abusers and ex-convicts, who told inspiring stories about how the Delancey Street Foundation provided them with tools-including an education-to help them get back on their feet. When we watched a documentary about the challenges of living on the minimum wage, I found myself irritated by how the couple in the film was portrayed. They acted like being poor was the worst situation to be in. Being poor is hard, but it teaches you to be strong and appreciate everything you do have. When we were asked to respond to the video, I shared my own story with the class. My family came to this country from Peru. My parents never made me feel poor, or complained about the long nights of hard work they did to pay the bills. Although my perspective differed from most of my classmates', they respected my experience. CLI showed us the problems our society faces, but it also taught us that we can work together toward solutions. n Luisa Apolaya is a junior at Montebello High School in California, where she is chapter president of the California Scholarship Federation and a member of the choir, yearbook staff, and calculus club. Learn more about CTY's Civic Leadership Institute at 18 imagine Mar/Apr 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - March/April 2016

Big Picture
In My Own Words Senator Barbara Mikulski
Run, Ride, Sell! Funding causes that matter
Start Something! Initiatives by kids, for kids
Changing Lives, One School at a Time Making a difference for students in need
Empowered to Make a Difference The Civic Leadership Institute at CTY and CTD
Sharing the Gifts of Music The Forget-Me-Not Family Ensemble
Service, Leadership, Entrepreneurship . . . Launch! Learning the art of the startup at MIT Launch
Sharing the Rewards Building a shadowing program for my peers
Discovering the Leader Within Exploring leadership and social justice at Brown
Gap Year A time to refresh, serve, and grow
Research at the Edge of the World An Antarctic photo essay
Selected Opportunities and Resources
Off the Shelf Review of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options Interview with entrepreneur Henry Albrecht, CEO, Limeade
One Step Ahead My college startup
Planning Ahead for College Skills and knowledge for college success
Students Review: Lehigh University
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - March/April 2016