Next Gen.

By Sonaya J.

A problem I’d like to solve would be providing opportunities for those who don’t have access to them. For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in helping children. There are so many children throughout this world that need a place to go if they want to talk or a place to sleep, and there is no assistance available.  I want to aid kids who share my background and come from the same areas that I grew up in; creating a space that eliminates the statistics that are already placed on African American adolescents.  As a result, I want to open a resource center that encompasses the problems that numerous adolescents face on a daily basis such as, medical/mental health support, shelter, food, and educational assistance.

Every time I watch the news or scroll through social media, there is a child who is hurt by the people they trust. Children should feel safe wherever they are and shouldn’t be punished for simply being born. I want to help the forgotten who don’t have anyone to depend on but themselves. Children who have their innocence taken away at a young age are destined to become another statistic; which can lead to the percentage of adolescents entering violent paths increasing or filling up prison cells.

Children are the future of our world, they are the next doctors, lawyers, or engineers yet so many are overlooked. The ones who are most at-risk are people of color and financially disadvantaged; if we continue to do so, society continues the rotating cycle of putting children into the world who are not prepared. Minority adolescents go through this cycle most often than their counterparts; the system that is set in place to assist does the exact opposite.

I want to eventually work with teenagers because they are the last to get adopted in foster care and mainly forced to provide for themselves in certain situations. I want to be a mentor, in developing their persona and guidance towards putting them on the right path. Specifically, African American teenagers, like myself, are at a substantial disadvantage compared to our white counterparts, for example, predominantly white schools or neighborhoods receive more government funding than minorities.

Creating my resource center would provide a space where they can express themselves and receive the best educational opportunities and support.  A way to understand them is by conquering my future plans, to become a child advocate lawyer and open a resource center for at-risk youth. While completing law school, I want to be a social worker to try to make sure those kids who think they are forgotten are not.

My love for children and being an influence during the early developmental stages of life is another essential concept in solving this systemic problem.   I have been volunteering at my local daycare center since the eighth grade; it originally started as a requirement for graduation, but I learned how much I enjoy working with children, thus finding my passion. Through my volunteering experiences of reading books and teaching kids; I have learned that the toddler stage is the most developmental age.  I love working with children at this age because their imagination guides them through life.

Overall, I have found my passion for mentoring the youth through my personal journeys of spending time with young children, and because of the opportunities and direct experiences, I have faced as a teenager of color.   I plan to become a child advocate lawyer and eventually open up a resource center for at-risk youth. During law school, I want to be a social worker to try to make sure those kids who think they are forgotten are not.  I know that I can’t fix all the problems within the world, but with the space, I want to build; I can start the conversation about solving these systematic problems that society faces.