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   WZM Award for Compassion 


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WZM Award

 

 

WZM Award presented to Yadira Barrales - Garfield High School

 

 

 

 

 

I am a part of an all-girl team called "Soñadoras Sin Fronteras" (Dreamers Without Borders). As a GirlsBuild team, we make it a priority to benefit our community in any way we can. GirlsBuild is an organization that sponsors student groups from all over the nation and gives them the resources to carry out any community-based project that they choose. I have been a member of the team since its inception three years ago and, during that time, have helped to create an awareness film about the Central American migrant caravan crisis, gathered clothes and food for immigrants detained at the border, and hosted a community fair at our school to provide resources for undocumented residents.

My favorite project that we have undertaken remains the community immigration fair. We decided to host this fair because our school is predominantly made up of Latinx students, many of whom immigrated to the United States at an early age. I was particularly enthusiastic about the fair because both my parents are undocumented so the ideas of detainment and deportation were not foreign concepts to me. Additionally, seeing how my parents struggled daily with the challenges of being undocumented in the U.S., such as not being able to receive healthcare or visit family back home, instilled in me a sense of duty to help my community in whatever way I could.

Throughout the school year, my team worked diligently; we contacted nonprofit organizations like CHIRLA and immigration lawyers so that they could educate and aid community members in the process of receiving documentation. We also canvassed for hours in the surrounding neighborhood on weekends. Because we were constantly working together to make this fair a reality, we developed a very strong bond within the team, and although many of the past members have graduated, we still keep in touch regularly.

On the day of the event, we managed to draw in a crowd of over three hundred people. I was also able to talk with several community members who revealed that they were afraid of seeking outside immigration services for the fear of them being fraudulent. In seeing the number of people we managed to aid by hosting this fair, I realized the importance of creating a safe space in which community members who needed support would feel comfortable using the resources we provided for them.

After doing similar activities throughout the rest of my high school career, I realized that contributing to one’s community in a positive way is one of the greatest acts of compassion an individual can do. Along with this, someone compassionate repeatedly stands up for others and is a selfless individual. Compassion plays a key role in today’s society because it helps people look past their own problems in order to come together and lessen the suffering of other people. Whether it be through protesting or volunteering, compassionate people do not shy away from work and because of this, are an integral part of society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ruth Ratna Handy, LCSW
jizopeacecenter@gmail.com
(661) 242-6956


 

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