When I was a camper, I was 12 years old. My perception of the world, the way people perceived me and the lens through which I saw the world, was that of a Honduran-born adoptee living at the intersection of multiple identities who did not have the language to express what was happening internally. It was one of anger and deep isolation.
My identities were internalized, thoughts were suppressed, and the fear of abandonment and rejection was omnipresent based on my own adoption trauma and childhood trauma. Though resilient in spirit, I was also someone who internalized pain and emotion because I had felt the world around me did not “see me” and did not support or respect me—there was a time where I felt nobody deserved to “see me.”
Seeds of Peace created a stillness and space inside of me, to reflect, interrogate my thoughts and feelings and honor the same in others. Feeling is such a solitary act, and I was someone who felt safe in my solitude. But the fact of the matter is, we are not meant to be in solitude. The human condition craves connection and understanding and love. And the truth is, I wasn’t getting my needs met from my community. So, Seeds of Peace gave me something that I had internalized as not deserving.
Looking back at my Seeds of Peace experience as a child, I feel profoundly that is the place in which I bloom. It is the sun, the sky, the way in which I travel in this life. I am always quoting poets and calling upon the insight of global leaders, and of course mentors and the people I admire from Seeds of Peace. Whether here in spirit, or not, or in another part of the world, I feel my community members with me every day. “Make one friend,” are words, but they’re also part of a song that I sing to myself.
When I returned to Camp as and adult facilitator, I was different in many ways. I had travelled the world, and had other life experiences that I had craved as a child. So, you ask, “how has Seeds of Peace impacted me?” That is in the past tense! It is impacting me.
Seeds of Peace gave me validation, courage, acceptance, a place to be me. A safe space. A place where I could be my authentic self no matter what that looked like. And I know that if I didn’t have this experience, it would have changed the trajectory of my life. And it’s hard to think about: what I’d be without Seeds of Peace or who I’d be. I can only be grateful for who I am right now.
How have you impacted your community?
Ask the community. For me, I think that it is important to co-create, co-design, and lead from compassion, understanding, and a sense of self, egoless leadership, and love. And when I think about the communities I’ve been a part of, I enter the spaces in a way that is overseeing, loving, caring, and woven in a way that only the community and I can understand on an interpersonal and emotional level. It is a tapestry of emotion, community, collective care, like the sky.
But in terms of my on-the-ground community organizing, I am the founder of a QTBIPOC organization.
I watched, observed and wondered where they could express themselves. They had a writing group 10+ years ago. And when I arrived I asked my supervisor if I could create something new and it took months to get it approved. That’s the system. But after this experience, I realized that I wanted to go back to school and get a dual MFA in creative writing. I was accepted into the writing for children and young adults and non-fiction program and also their impact entrepreneurship fellowship program, where I was able to work with an incredibly talented group of folx working on their own start ups.
I am impacting.
“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.”