Since I was little, I knew I wanted to change the world. As a curious and savvy book reader, I enjoyed the classics that my dad read to me at bed time and devoured in the warm summer evenings, the adventure stories that I borrowed from my grandpa’s shelf. I found special inspiration in Frances Hodgson’s A Little Princess, which is about a strong girl, Sara, who fights meanness with kindness and misfortune with hard work. Even though I was willing to follow her example to try and change the world, it is actually easier said than done. I realized that if I wanted to make a change I would need some help, and the help came indeed, and I was introduced to WYA; my first step to be a change maker.
I was introduced to World Youth Alliance by my cousin who has previously participated in WYA Latin America’s Emerging Leaders Conference.
She talked to me about the importance of engaging in extracurricular activities that could complement the classroom education provided in school. Listening to how much she had done and how much she had learned through WYA made me realize how little I was doing in preparing myself to be a change maker.
After that day, I felt an internal growing ache that urged me to do something; it felt like a constant reminder that I could not stay home with my arms crossed while other young people were changing the world. So I took action! I signed the WYA Charter and started the Certified Training Program. With the WYA Latin America Director´s support, Jessica Baptista, I finished my certification just in time for another WYA event: The 2012 International Summer Camp in New York.
The ISC was an amazing experience. I had a blast. The WYA staff had a remarkable ability to teach tough subjects while you are having fun. I met young people from around the world who were different from me but shared common beliefs and values. That amazing 2012 generation made me realize that I’m not alone in my efforts of creating a better world. As Sara in A Little Princess, I shared my stories, fortunately they were not fairy tales. WYA was helping me through education to make my dreams come true. I told all my friends about WYA and I also invited them to sign the WYA charter.
After being involved with WYA for many years now, I have realized that their mission is the same as mine: to promote human dignity. But what is this “Dignity” that people mentioned and why do I care so much for it?
There is a particular analogy that I enjoy sharing and that illustrates the important role that dignity plays in a human life. Picture a tender baby, he or she seems to me like a new canvass. The fabric they are made of can have all sorts of hues and tones embedded unto it. They come in different shapes and sizes and the textures may vary as well. But what they all have in common is their uniqueness and immeasurable value, as well as the potential to become a master piece.
Family, teachers, friends and life experiences will bring more color onto that canvas. These colors can be nice and bright or dark and gloomy. Only by recognizing that regardless of the color of the paint, every canvass is in essence unique. Regardless of any factors or reasons we can think of, we can appreciate each individual´s inherent immeasurable worth and dignity.
In WYA, we believe that human dignity is inalienable, universal and begins from conception to natural death. I’m a WYA member because a world that recognizes this kind of value in every human being is a world that I want to live in. And I will work relentlessly to make my dream world into a reality.
Written by Ana Sylvia Espinosa de los Monteros, a current intern at the WYA Headquarters in New York City from Mexico.