Abby's Reflection

Someone once said to me, “the only thing that remains constant in life is change.” I've tried to wrap my mind around this one. Each time I dig into the idea, I come up with something new. Change is the only constant thing in life. Is that good or bad? Well what I have come up with is that, it’s great! Change, along with, individuality is among a group of truly important ideas life should consist of. Whether change is good or bad, is entirely up to the individual. In my opinion, change is the ideal path to new opportunities, and I must say the change in my life has brought about a favorable amount of great opportunities like my current job as an intern at SOS Outreach.

As I analyze the major events of my life, I find that it’s hard to uncover any trace of continuity. I begin by digging into my past in search of the first major event I can remember and it starts when I was about three or four when I lived with my Mom, Dad and two older sisters, Gaby and Lorena. I remember at that age I was as happy as I could be. We made countless memories and everything seemed to be picture perfect. I was naïve though and wasn't aware of any of the issues my parents were dealing with, which were innumerable. The problems my family was dealing with at the time, all lead up to the next major event in my life. My parents divorced. The conflict between my parents was immense and my sister Gaby was drowned in it all. It was all taking place in front of my face. I don’t remember exactly how it all played out. It must have been weeks before she and Lorena sat me down and told me he wasn’t living with us anymore. I felt so betrayed at the moment, not only by my dad but by my mother and sister for holding the truth from me for so long. Around second grade, I began to understand that I had no power to change how life events took place.

Another major event in my life took place toward the end of my first year of high school. My mother became ill. I usually don’t go much into detail to not disturb or sadden my mother and largely because it’s an issue that I am currently dealing with. What I will say is, my mother’s illness came unexpectedly and turned my whole world around. As I look back to that time, I see that I had dealt with that change poorly. I took in the situation negatively in the beginning, which opened a path to the wrong direction. Luckily I found myself in a program called SOS Outreach. Learning the SOS core values has taught me to make better decisions and to make something useful of my unfavorable circumstances. I now try to support my Mother and family as much as I can and try to look for good in the obstacles that I face. I honor my Mother and Father despite past events and I understand that whatever occurred happened for a reason.

When I entered SOS Outreach in third grade, it was still known as Snowboard Outreach Society. That was my first time snowboarding, I participated in the Learn to Ride program through my school because my sister was in it. I remember meeting many new faces that year but, there was one I remember until today. I remember standing in a circle of at least 30 people surrounding him, a circle called the circle of love. This is a circle that forms every morning and afternoon on SOS ride days at the base of beaver creek with the goal to emphasize the core value of the day. That day, it happened to be courage. Arn stood in the middle and talked about the importance of the core value. At the time I didn't know the significance of all of it. I didn't know what that guy in the middle of the circle was talking about but, I thought to myself, somehow and in some way, he is important and what he is saying must be important too. As I grew older though, and continued to be part of SOS, I learned the true meaning of the core values and the reason of what Arn was saying on that day as I stood in my first circle of love. I learned that he was remarkably important because he wanted to change lives, including mine.

Today I am an intern at the SOS office. SOS and its mentors taught me important life lessons that I didn’t learn in school or at home. It taught me that a leader can come from anywhere. Initially I didn't accept the idea that SOS Outreach was an ‘at risk youth development program.’ I didn't want to be categorized as someone that was underprivileged or destined to make wrong decisions. Soon that idea became inevitable, but I honored and embraced it because I saw that this was true and it was an opportunity to show people that my lifestyle or background does not define who I am. I wanted and still want to prove that what people think I am, is only a stereotype. Yes, I come from a difficult background of divorce, low wages, limited resources, violence, sickness, and an abundance of tears shed over countless years. But what SOS has taught me is much larger, and far more important than all of this.

An important lesson I learned from an SOS guide during a 5 day backpacking trip was that this world is very large and my personal issues are nothing compared to it. Everyone has problems and here I am trapped in my own. In a way, that seems selfish to me. I began to contemplate this idea when my guide said, “It’s amazing when you think about it; it’s so big out there...we are like a blade of grass.” It was the third night on our 5 day camping trip and we were all fortunate to have the most astonishing, and marvelous view of the night sky. The sky was clear and no clouds in sight. It seemed like every star in the universe was moved and exclusively placed above us that night. Everyone in our group shared stories as we observed the night sky and shouted in excitement every time we would see a shooting star. The feeling was like no other; something that can’t be described in words. Just as I wrote in my journal that night, “I feel uneasy. I’m unable to find the adequate words to make a description of this breathtaking scenery.” I truly found who I am on that trip. I found a purpose, and it is to express my passion, not in words but, in my actions. I will, to the best of ability reach my goals and help others reach theirs. We are like a blade of grass compared to the universe, or a star in the sky but without that one blade of grass the field doesn’t look as green, or without that one star, the sky doesn’t shine as bright.

Without SOS and the support that I received, I don’t doubt, I would have gone down the wrong path sooner or later. What Arn, Mikayla and the rest of team have given me is the path to success and change. They gave me and other student’s instructions and the tools to become a leader by using courage, discipline and integrity, then led us to that door of success. It’s up to the true leaders to find the key to open the door and cross the threshold to achieve something, gain wisdom, have humility and learn to be compassionate for others for those who didn't find the key to the door of success. I am a leader, will succeed and it is all thanks to SOS Outreach. They brought something new and provided great opportunity. To me that is more than enough, they have changed my life and in the good way. If you ask me whether change is good? I’ll say: absolutely, change is unexpected but not chaotic you can decide what you change and most importantly, you decide how you react to the outcome. Change is your future and the best way to predict your future is to create it.