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My name is Mercedes Pliego and I am a senior in Palmer Trinity School. In my life I have lived in many places: Mexico, Texas, Michigan, California, Argentina, Connecticut and Florida. My experience of moving around a lot has impacted the person who I am today. I have been able to develop skills such as adapting to changes, becoming more confident and secure of who I am, and most importantly it has made me a diverse and sociable person.
Most of the values and morals that define who I am have been because of my family. I have one older brother, Jorge, who is the person that I admire the most. When he was little he was diagnosed with Autism, while growing up everyone in my family faced lots of challenges. My brother would get really frustrated because he couldn’t speak at all and it was hard for him to express how he felt and what he needed. For my parents it was also really tough because they had to have a lot of patience with my brother.
When I was little I would feel that my parents favored my brother over me because they would have high expectations for me and for my brother it felt like they congratulated him on everything he did. As years went by, I started to become more understanding, I became very proud of my brother, he overcame his challenges by being able to talk, to learn how to read and to write, when others had told us that my brother was never going to be able to do “normal things”. I also began to volunteer at Special Olympics and Unified Sports which involved doing activities with kids with special needs. Every time I attended one of those events I would get this feeling of excitement and happiness because I would see all the kids with a huge smile; they didn’t care if they won or not, they were just happy of being able to participate and be included in the competitions.
The reason why I am in Agents of Change is because I want to be able to make a positive impact in my community by also following my passions. I love to travel and to always try new things, so by being able to experience different things during the modules and by overcoming the challenges that I might face, I believe that I will be able to grow as a person and to learn qualities about myself that I hadn’t realized I had. I want to create a change by giving kids and adults who have mentally challenge disabilities a positive attitude in their lives and to make them realize that they have the potential to follow their passions.