YLI youth, Flor Rivera, recently received a $5,000 scholarship from the Sequoia Awards because of her community service work with YLI. Rivera is the first in her entire family to attend college, so this award has special meaning for her.
“Before YLI, I didn’t know if I could afford college and I was afraid I would never be able to go,” says Rivera.
“YLI invested in me to serve my community and this fuels me to give back as much as I can. Now I’ve discovered a path to go to college and pursue a career in nursing. English is my second language and I have struggled with public speaking. Through our store makeover project, I’ve realized that being bilingual is not negative but is a benefit, and being able to translate is an important career skill to help Spanish-speaking families. Because of YLI, I now have the confidence in myself to pursue my dreams, with the skills and experience necessary to make them become a reality.”
Rivera shined as a leader of the Healthy Neighborhoods Project, a YLI and Redwood City 2020 partnership, which works in the low-income community of North Fair Oaks to increase access to healthy food and decrease the promotion of alcohol and tobacco through “Cornerstore Makeovers.” She volunteered her time doing community research, building relationships with store owners, helping carefully plan the makeover and create a video, narrating it in English and Spanish.
Rivera and her YLI team, Youth Organizing San Mateo County, presented their research and recommendations to the San Mateo Board of Supervisors, Get Healthy San Mateo County Task Force and the North Fair Oaks Council Steering Committee. This youth group is a also a part of the countywide Friday Night Live youth leadership coalition.
Rivera was nominated for the award by YLI staff member, Emily Lehr-Anning. “Flor’s leadership skills and confidence have developed tremendously over the past year,” says Lehr-Anning. “She is a part of a youth movement for change throughout San Mateo County and is making a positive impact on youth and adults in her community.”