Gabriela

Maine Delegation, 2000

IMPACT: SOCIAL

How has Seeds of Peace had an impact on you?

As an adopted child I have always felt like a “child of the world” rather than an “American” or “Honduran” or “Hispanic.” Being adopted is something I am most proud of because at a very early age I had to learn how to adapt to another culture, a new set of rules, a different climate, a new family. I spent a great amount of time exploring my identity, questioning my origins and my roots, and being intrigued with possibilities. I graduated High School early and began my lifelong quest for my sense of self. I went on to explore different cultures and appreciate and love the human race and all of its beauty. My acute awareness of the world and all of the beautifully unique people that inhabit the planet inspired me to travel and explore foreign lands.

I owe much of my self-pride and awareness of the world to Seeds of Peace. If it weren’t for my acceptance into the Seeds of Peace program, I may not be the person I am today. It was because of Seeds of Peace that I learned to reflect, accept, and move forward.

There were many parts of my identity that my own community did not understand and failed to accept. That in turn made me question everything that I was. I soon became very depressed and had a deeply profound sense of worthlessness. How could my own community make me feel this way? How could they do this to me, I would ask. But the truth is, they did not do anything to me. They just didn’t understand who I was. I learned at Seeds of Peace that it was my duty to explain who I was. I learned that I can only control what I do and to do it with love and compassion.

I learned that everything I do will affect something or someone. Through the words we speak, through the words we do not speak, through our actions or the lack of actions and through how we choose to communicate. Expression lives and breathes inside of all of us. It is the courage of expressing oneself that can change the world.

How are you impacting your community?

Since turning 18 I have spent more time living abroad than in the US. From Central America to East Asia, I have volunteered in orphanages or as an English as a Second Language teacher in six countries. Childhood education is something that is very important to me, and I have made personal and professional commitments to engage in relevant work with development projects. Through immersion, I have developed skills in intercultural communication and learned to be adaptive as I promote the objectives I care most about.

My lifetime goal is always evolving, but I am driven by a desire to promote the rights of children, to ensure that they have the right to dream and have opportunities to turn dreams into reality. I believe that education is the gateway to all dreams.

Today I work as the founder of Smoothie Tunes. Like every great idea, Smoothie Tunes started with a person and a passion. That person just so happens to be me! At its core, Smoothie Tunes is a music blog dedicated to providing a platform for musicians and creators, no matter how big or small. Smoothie Tunes is based in Brooklyn, New York, but the mentality of Smoothie Tunes crosses borders and continents. Every musician, writer, artist, creator, listener, is a part of what makes it not only a music blog, but an all inclusive community of people who have come together to share what they love.

Since our inception, we’ve had opportunities to collaborate with London- and Los Angeles-based art and music collectives. We have hosted over 30 shows featuring performances from local artists including Flamingosis, Diversa, and Maxo. One key aspect about a Smoothie Tunes show is the emphasis on including everyone of all ages and walks of life. We are proud to not only spotlight emerging artists who may feel trapped with their online artist projects, but also spotlighting People of Color and LGBTQ artists.

Smoothie Tunes shows would not be the fun and impactful events they are without the help of everyone involved, from the performers, the visual artists, venue owners and staff, those who help set up and tear down, those who share the event, and those who come. Furthermore, the Smoothie Tunes community recognizes its importance it has on its own environment. We make proactive decisions to align ourselves with nonprofit organizations and outreach programs within our community, like Building Beats, many of those whose focal point is empowering our youth.

Past the music, Smoothie Tunes is about establishing and celebrating lifelong friendships between everyone involved. Alongside the people the people who have made it what it is today, Smoothie Tunes is a growing platform and we invite you to grow with us. You, reading this right now, are welcome to become a part of our community.

Seeds of Peace gave me the courage and strength to continue to believe in the power of love, friendship, and peace. And that is beautiful to me. That is the beauty I have always wanted in my life, and I have chosen a way to incorporate my love for children and music into it. I am planting seeds of positivity everywhere I go.

“I owe much of my self-pride and awareness of the world to Seeds of Peace. If it weren’t for my acceptance into the Seeds of Peace program, I may not be the person I am today. It was because of Seeds of Peace that I learned to reflect, accept, and move forward.”