“People just look at me like I’m crazy, but if you want a change you have to make it yourself.”
For Eva, high school has been a time of trial and transition. Eva speaks openly about her own vulnerability and refers to her time in the Postpone project as instrumental in forming the person she is now. While Eva often attributes her resilience and desire to help others to early elementary and middle school experiences, she credits Postpone with developing her confidence as a public speaker and inspiring her to become a teacher.
During the first interview, Eva describes her experience as a monolingual (Spanish) student with dyslexia. She tells us about the bullying that compounded her already difficult educational experience and a compassionate teacher that helped her to improve her English language skills and accelerate her academic career.
When her younger brother faced similar challenges related to his learning disability, Eva felt she could encourage him and protect him.
I’ve always tried to help my brother because he’s in Special Ed too. I tell him that there’s nothing [to be] ashamed of. It’s just that you have something else that other people don’t and you need to try harder and it doesn’t matter because at the end you’re still doing the best you can.
In part due to her early school experiences, Eva says she entered high school committed to making change her community. She says Postpone gave her opportunities to learn and practice the skills — public speaking, leadership and self-confidence — that are necessary to create community change. It is at Postpone that Eva first speaks publicly in front of her peers.
I remember when I got up there, I was shaking, I was so nervous. It was hard but I got through it.
In addition to fighting bullying, Eva hopes to apply the skills she learned in Postpone to the problem of gang violence in her community. Since her family moved to Salinas from Fresno, Eva’s life has been punctuated by loss. When we met in June 2014, she had recently lost an uncle and a friend to gang violence. When we meet at the close of the 2015 school year, she reports that a cousin had also been killed. In our final interview Eva seemed adamant that the skills she learned creating the Resolution on Social and Emotional Health could also be used to address issues of violence.
As Eva exited the program and GHGH, she is confident in her ability to challenge the status quo, equipped with the skills necessary to make her voice heard.
People just look at me like I’m crazy, but if you want a change you have to make it yourself.