YES Student Guest Blog – Being the Change through the YES Program
Jaylin White, Morse High School
My experience with the Jacobs Center’s Youth Engaging Southeastern San Diego (YES) program is one I will never forget. When I first received information on the program, I thought it was something interesting, and I wanted to learn more.
I started learning and getting useful information from the very first meeting, starting with the interview. I was nervous when I found out I had to interview for the position, but it taught me to be confident in myself and to overcome my fears of speaking in front of people. Little did I know then, but that was a lesson that was going to help me while canvassing neighborhoods and getting people in the community to provide their input on the Town Center Master Plan through surveys.
When I started canvassing and getting the surveys completed, I first started with family and friends, because of course I thought they were going to be the easiest people to get to take the survey. I found some of my friends didn’t really want to complete the survey until I explained to them that this is our chance to have a voice in what we wanted to see developed in our community.
A lot of times we complain about what we have or don’t have, but that is all we do—just complain. Completing the survey is our time to actually do something. To make our opinion known. To have a say in bettering our community. Most people agreed to fill out the survey once I explained it in those terms. Of course not everyone I asked agreed to fill out a survey, and that was fine. It still gave me the opportunity to talk to people who I would not have talked to under different circumstances.
Being a part of the YES program gave me the opportunity to do something positive in my community. Today, the media and outsiders would like you to believe that young men from Southeastern San Diego are always doing negative things. I am here to tell you that a lot of us care about our community and want to see it change for the better. I am willing to do something to help make it a better community. The YES program gave me the opportunity to be the change, not just complain about it. Thank you Ms. Alex, Ms. Venus, and everyone involved in the YES program for giving me an experience that I will never forget.