This I Believe

Eddie - Los Angeles, California
Entered on October 24, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that every person deserves a second chance, a second chance

to show the rest of the world of what he/she is capable of.

Both of my parents brought me here to this big nation of opportunities to offer me a better life from what I was offered back in Mexico. I came here to gain a better education and a better place for me to live in.

As an elementary student, I had the mentality of becoming a teacher

one day, having my own class, playing wood brackets and watching movies all day long with my students.

It was at Virgil Middle School, a difficult period in my life where my mentality of an adolescent was erased by a person who was me physically but not mentally, a person who thought that by being “cool” would live a “happily ever after life.” I wanted to be like my friends, popular, with girls coming up to me. I wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted to be a gang member just like my friends. During this time of my life, I had forgotten about the reason my mom and my dad brought me here.

I was destroying private property all the time. I would always write my nickname and the name of the group I belonged to on school textbooks, bathrooms, desks, and buses. I was throwing my education to a waste. I

wanted everybody to know me.

I used to run the risk of getting caught by the police or by my enemies every time I tag on walls outside my neighborhood. I had become of my self a monster out of control. In many occasions I almost lost my life do to the violence. I wasn’t only hurting myself, but I was also hurting my parents.

A gun in front of me, pointing at my face made me realized that the life I was living for four years was not for me. It was not worth dying and losing my dreams for an unreasonable cause. The violence that I lived and caused day to day was also hurting families around me. I had to do something

before it was too late.

Thanks to my mom who never gave up on me, who gave me a chance

to demonstrate to her that I still had the potential of becoming a role model for my little brothers. I was experiencing how other teenagers like me ended up getting killed or were sentenced for life in prison as well as experiencing the pain of other parents crying for their lost child. I changed for the good.

In high school I started a new life. My goal was still to be popular, not for vandalism or for the violence I created, but for my good grades. To continue the dream of my parents, to make them proud. I believe that every

person deserves a second chance, a second chance to demonstrate who you really are!