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Running isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it definitely wasn’t mine before I came to Palmer Trinity. A certain injury changed that for me during the summer before sixth grade. Four nights at Miami Children’s Hospital would – in most cases – seem like a low point, and that was how I viewed it then. Looking back on it now, it was the defining moment in my life, a starting point for what I have accomplished thus far. The grizzly foot injury I suffered in 2010 inspired me to join cross country, a sport that has connected me to my community and has given me the opportunity to give back to those who need it. Life is quite hectic for a 16 year old student-athlete, service buff, and film connoisseur, but the opportunities I have helped create through a 5k fun run and Rustic Pathways make me an agent of change.
I joined the cross country team as a means of recovery. I had no intention of being successful or even continuing with it after I got back into shape for soccer season. I am not sure what changed my mind and convinced me to stick with Cross Country. All that is clear is that I am currently in my 6th season of cross country, and my 16th season of sports in general at Palmer Trinity. For me, cross country is about more than just the miles I run. It has become about the people I can influence through the sport. Last year I served as a co-chair for the 3rd Annual St. Thomas 5k Fun Run. The fun run is a charity race held at St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School, the Fun Run donates half the proceeds to Breakthrough Miami, a program that provides educational opportunities to hard-working students in underserved communities I am grateful to be able to help out my community while doing something I love.
This summer, I took my community service efforts to the next level, and had my eyes opened to an entirely new world. I embarked on a two week service expedition in Peru with Rustic Pathways, a youth education group that provides high school students the opportunity to do real, hands on, labor-intensive trips in over 19 different countries. While in Peru, I worked 17 days to dig out a trench which will soon have a pipeline system in it that will provide the town of Pachar and Pilcobamba with safe drinking water. Getting hands-on experience and seeing these real-world problems that these Peruvian families face makes me feel blessed to live the life I do.
In the future, I hope I can continue to help out those less fortunate than I. Whether it is a service trip to a foreign country or just a food drive, I am passionate about giving back and want to help out in any way I can. I do not plan to run at the collegiate level, but focus solely on my academics after I graduate from high school. As for my Agents of Change initiative, I am not yet sure what my idea will be, but I am certain that it will have a lasting, positive effect on my community.