Kate Trevino-Yoson, a junior at Bainbridge High School, knows first-hand how HOPE can change your life. In one of the most compelling moments of the recent Bainbridge Youth Services fundraising breakfast, Kate spoke about what hope means for her and how the community can unite to build hope in others.
As a youth board member of Bainbridge Youth Services, she understands the importance of the Ignite Hope campaign that BYS recently launched ensure all kids ages 12 through 21 have the social and emotional tools to succeed in life.
She urged the breakfast audience to each look both inwardly and outwardly and said they all have the power to launch a dramatic change in our community. Here are excerpts from her speech:
“I ask you to look within yourself and honestly ask, are you hopeful? Are you inspired and optimistic about the future?
In our world of instant gratification and quick changes, it’s easy to get caught up in the small details. I know I do. But do you have goals you’re aspiring to?
For some people, living through another day is an achievement. For others, they may be motivated by a trip, an event, a smile from a friend, that leftover cookie at home, college plans, anything big or small. They all look towards a better moment, and it keeps them moving.
Do you have hope in your life? Because to give hope to others, you need to start with yourself.
Now, I want you to look outward. Are there people around you who you can reach out to? It’s too easy to look around our world and write it off as a bad place, with people only looking out for themselves and the lives of their close circle. Be the light in your community. Find a way to tell people they’re important. By planting flower in public places. By respecting people’s identities and pronouns. By noticing those around you and sometimes paying for the next person in line. By listening carefully when people open up to you.
I believe that good in the world has not only the ability to return to you but also touch so many lives with simple acts. I know because I have that in my life. Not only does my family support me so much, but there were also people in my life who made me feel that I had value from a very young age. That feeling helped carry me through the tougher times, because I felt I had important things to say. These people were neither related to me nor had any obligation to care for me. They were people much like the faces I see here.
One such person was named Char Burke. I had recently moved here from Texas, and left my home and friends behind for what felt like a whole new country. At the same time, I was finally starting to think for myself and form opinions and passions. Char was one of the first people in my life to ask me, a 9-year-old at the time, what I thought, what I aspired to be, and what I wanted from life.
Are you able to do the same for people in your life? If you can, you can make an impact.
Char passed away from cancer a few years after meeting me, but she has been immortalized in me, and I will affect and be affected by others in the future because Char spent time with someone who didn’t believe she had anything worthwhile to say, because she hadn’t really been asked before.
I have hope today because of people like Char. I share this story with you because I want you to join me and BYS in our movement to ignite hope in our community.
Hope is a powerful emotion that we have the power to nurture in our lives. No gesture is too small. I hope that all of us leave today with a sense of purpose to inspire compassion and hope in our community.’’
Kate Trevino-Yoson is a junior at BHS and a youth board member of Bainbridge Youth Services.