We were pleased and touched to receive this letter from Citlalli Castellon, one of the alumni of last year’s Rite of Passage program, who’s currently in her first year at the University of California, Davis. She shares her thoughts about the program and offers some thoughts about making the most of it to this year’s participants. (See Citlalli’s presentation about Article 26 of the UDHR from the Culminating Ceremony below.)

Hello Everyone,

I hope you all find yourself well, with energy to start another cycle of The World As It Could Be Is Within Reach.

I recently came across the YouTube video that summarizes our program right at a perfect time. I wasn’t feeling too well, but that video brought me back up to my feet. It is amazing, that still after the program it continues to help me and motivate me. 

Being part of the program, whether being a member or staff/mentor, is something to definitely be proud of. 

I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the opportunity I had being part of this group. There’s many things I’ve learned, even small details that I still keep in mind in my daily life; whether that be the thought of how to manage my budget (it’s helped a lot here during my college stay), the different types of art forms and what you can do with them, the hissing sounds to strengthen your voice, up to the statistics we read throughout the year. All of these things have made a permanent impact on me. Especially now distanced away with time, I can look back with a different eye and realize how much that impact has been.  The simple fact of being part of something, makes a positive difference in the way you view yourself and how you place yourself in a bigger picture, in your community.  

While being quite frank, sometimes I dreaded going to the meetings. I dreaded them, because I was fatigued after a long day of school and after school activities, with a very heavy load of homework waiting for me each night upon my arrival home, especially due to AP Bio, AP Calculus, AP Language, or college/internship application; on top of only having maybe 4-6 hours of sleep the night prior and the night after and the night after that, and once again throughout the whole entire week. 

But despite how tired I felt, I always knew how important it was for me to push myself and go, because after every single meeting I felt re-energized and more positive about myself and why I wanted to achieve the goals I had in mind.

For this, I am indefinitely grateful. Thank you for being my mentors and being sensitive and beautiful people. I hope that you can find in my words some reassurance if you ever need it, to continue on with your work and the things that you do; because they matter.

I would love to know about this year’s program and maybe even talk to some of the members. I am definitely still interested in continuing my involvement in some way or another. 

If I were to tell them anything briefly this would be it:

Beautiful and Bright Upcoming Leaders, 

Take advantage of this very rare, valuable, and enriching opportunity that is unique to you.

You never know where the things you learn today, whether they may seem insignificant, could get you to. 

Try to make meaningful bonds with the people you meet and be wise enough to listen to what they have to show you.

Don’t be afraid of asking questions or for help, or to get close to those there with you in this adventure.  Embrace them.

REALLY REALLY TAKE ADVANTAGE and ENJOY ALL OF THE RESOURCE THERE AVAILABLE. 

No where else, or extremely rarely, will you find a facility like reach that will provide you with endless opportunities for FREE.

Knowing the struggle of a broke college student, no one really ever gives you free things. So use the tools available to you, since you have them now.

Be very conscious of your actions because you have great responsibility as you will soon be adults and future leaders of your community.

Although it may seem too early, start thinking about your future. At the end of the day, you are your own person.

You are the most important captain of your life. So it is up to you, to take the things you learn and the humble things you have to create meaning actions in your life. 

But never ever forget, that life is full of wonder and beautiful things to discover and play with. 

Be yourself. Love yourself. You are all amazing people and I know that because ‘sonder’ look it up!*

 

Well anyway, my best regard to everyone. I really hope you are all doing great!

Sincerely,

CC

*sonder: the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

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