"Right now I'm struggling with public speeches. I get stage fright. It makes me afraid to see people's eyes looking at me. It makes my blood shake. I want to run away from that fear and hide in my room."
"I communicate more with people. Usually I'm shy and like to be alone. Because of YVC, I feel like I talk with more people, am more active and have more fun than usual."
"YVC has definitely prepared me for my future. It's given me insight on how to not only look for service projects in my community, but it's made me think about other people more. It's made me think about how I can help to affect change in my community. It's provided me with the skills to do a service project and to collaborate with others in my community. It's taught me to look outside of myself and the sense of gratitude that comes from helping people is amazing. It's a wonderful and gratifying feeling--I absolutely love it."
"Before YVC I wasn't very connected to nature. I never realized there were polluted rivers or global warming. Through YVC, I've learned that there is so much you can do to change your community and change your environment. We're not just learning about it, we're actually going out to improve our waterways. I came up with the idea of doing a clean-up day in the river harbor at low-tide, when all the trash comes in, where we have a lot of skiffs. We had YVC volunteers come in and it was a lot of fun because we were able to teach them how to row and the basics about river conservation and safety. The Delaware River gets a bad rap in the city of Philadelphia. A lot of people think that it's dirty, but through the program I was able to learn that we can fix it."
While interning at the Independence Seaport Museum, Dante (second in from right) put together the river education and volunteer cleanup day described above for his fellow YVC Philly students.
"When I go to school and YVC, it's like home. When you have friends who like to do these projects and have a good mindset and who are there for you, it's definitely a good feeling of safety. We respect each other. "
"My martial arts teacher is one of my role models. He taught me a lot of self discipline. He said that sometimes it's about using your words and your confident image to influence people to make better choices. I took martial arts because my Dad did when he was younger. He took it because he was bullied. He wants us to be able to defend ourselves so that we won't have to fight. Like my martial arts teacher said, just having the confidence of knowing how to protect yourself is enough to make sure you don't have to fight."