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One cold, rainy practice, Coach Curtis told my track team members and me that we’re different and we’re special, because we’re out here working with determination, commitment, and dedication unlike most. To me, this meant that even though life proves to become harder, this mentality that I have attained from running track became the vivid realization that I can endure the race of life. A great deal of the race is about being mentally strong and the rest is physical.
The East Oakland Youth Development Center is a home, for I have learned many life values. Each moment that I come to the Center, I experience deep, personal growth.
I was conversing with Ms. Regina, one of my greatest mentors at the EOYDC, and she was describing how a flower begins life as a bud. Eventually, the bud will bloom into beauty. Youth like myself start off like the bud, but with the teachings at the EOYDC, I’ve continued to blossom. EOYDC sheds light on me and waters me; it has definitely provided that nurturance and guidance, especially during this progression in college.
And even though there are torrent winds that can harm the flower, if the flower has a strong foundation, it will persist in growing. The EOYDC gave me that strong foundation; I’ve learned that those winds might blow one off the course of life, but the strong individual can get back on track with determination.
After speaking with Ms. Regina, I was reading and came across a passage:
“I bud forth delights like the Vine,
My blossom becomes fruit fair and rich.”
– The book of Sirach
I imagined my future and that when I do blossom, I can “taste the fruits of my labor” and I will share these fruits. As I always try to remember and reflect on my blessings, I truly appreciate what the EOYDC does for me and the youth in East Oakland: provide a positive place and family environment that continues to support personal growth and development.
Kristine Fontabla, Class of 2008
Web Note: Kristine is currently a freshman at Cal State Eastbay. Her current professional goal is to become a surgeon.