Location: Davis, CA, United States
- Issues Areas:
- Education Justice
Campus: University of California at Davis - Davis, CA
Fellowship Class Year: 2011
Mannys Blueprint for Social Justice worked to empower and motivate high school students in his local community to not only pursue higher education, but also to find success in their college endeavors. Looking to partner with local college admission offices, businesses, non-profit organization and city government, Manny worked to create an after-school tutoring program that puts high school students in direct contact with working professionals and college student advisors. In order to monitor his success, Manny also worked with his local school district to implement a tracking system that keeps records on the number of students who pursue higher education in relation to socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicity, etc.
Featured Fellow Spotlight
YP4: What do you stand for?
Manny: I stand for young people from backgrounds and areas that aren’t really involved in anything in the community and politics. I stand for them to give them a voice, and the skills and tools to actually make change and make a difference for themselves and to figure out what they stand for in the context of the world.
YP4: How did you become involved with YP4?
Manny: Rajiv Narayan from UC Davis got me involved.
YP4: What is your Blueprint for Social Justice?
Manny: My BP was to put on a conference for students from low income and first generation backgrounds from hometown community of Antioch, CA. The weekend was geared to teach them and give them the skills and the resources they need to get on track to pursue higher education and realize the importance of it. We brought resources from the surrounding community, the local education community, businesses, and non-profits, to help the students and parents get connected to the resources they need to go to college.
YP4: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Manny: I think my greatest achievement has been graduating from college. I am the first to graduate from college, the oldest of 4 children. My family and peers played a role to get me here, but I’ve been self-driven from a young age and that helped me get here too.
YP4: What motivates and inspires you?
Manny: The people that I do work for, I get more motivated by the people I work with, work for to do a specific thing, or the people that I work with that have the same ideas or motivations as me. To help them do some sort of change and help them as a person
YP4: What is a main goal that you want to accomplish?
Manny: I want to increase the involvement in my Antioch community and building a stronger community overall. The direction that my community is going in isn’t the best and I believe young people can help change it over all. One of the overall things I picture in my head is to be proud of Antioch, to have people take pride in the community that they come from.
YP4: How do you feel you fit in to the Progressive Movement?
Manny: I think that issue wise, and thinking about the movement, the area I fit in most is in the environmental side and educational side.
Both of those passions developed from the community I came from. Coming from Antioch and a school system that could strive for better inspired me to do so. I developed an environmental side coming from a city like Davis, CA.
YP4: What is a struggle that you’ve faced or are facing in your work?
Manny: A struggle, it’s kind of interesting, is combining and separating my work and my personal life. In my community in Antioch, my brothers are a big reason why I want to work in. It’s a struggle to connect to my brothers as I do to others, even though I want to get the same message across. I want to take on so much, this work can be so taxing at times, so sustaining myself and balancing my personal life and my work.
YP4: What advice do you have for others dealing with those struggles?
Manny: I would say, hearing from YP4 staff, to consider yourself first, be balanced mentally and physically is overall for the better.
YP4: How can other Fellows get involved or find more information about the work you’re doing?
Manny: Take a good look at the community in which you want to do work in. There is a lot of motivation to do this sort of work, there is always going to be an investment in young people, especially when find out what resources and organizations are out there, let them help you accomplish what you want to do.
YP4: What advice would you give to the 2012-2013 incoming class of Fellows?
Manny: Enjoy your time as a Fellow, it goes by way to fast, although you are going to be a part of this network and family forever, the first part of the fellowship is very unique so take advantage of it. Utilize every single minute. It is so great to meet Fellows from all over the country with the same views as you; this opportunity does not come up a lot.
YP4: If every time you entered a room your theme song played, what would it be and why?
Manny: First song, I Don’t Want To Be, by Gavin DeGraw, I’ts about not catering to the model of society but being your own individual, and that is something I always think about.
YP4: Is there anything else that you want to say?
Manny: I would like to say this sort of work is really hard, especially the society we are in, making change is really tough, and I think it does come on the shoulders of young people and forward minded people, so one thing I think about when it gets tough, is that I am not the only on out there, and YP4 is a great opportunity to build that support system for when the work gets really tough.