December 12, 2019
Written by Andrea Isabella Hurtado, Quality Advisor, Prime Time Palm Beach County
The last 14 years have been a remarkable road of discovery. Looking back to when I was a junior in high school, I supported my first community service project. It was a Susan G. Komen Race for A Cure event, held in downtown West Palm Beach. A good friend at the time said “it will be fun; we’ll wake up early and we will really be helping out. Come with me.” I’ve been a volunteer ever since.
Volunteering has positive impacts on our community and tremendous advantages to those individuals who are partipating. Each year the focus or projects may change, but the passion and drive sparks the youth, who I call leaders, to move into action. Although I have worked with children since 2007, something new emerged in 2017 when I became an advisor at a small club that worked with youth in middle school and high school, who were each in search of filling their social responsibility for the community. As their advisor, my role was to support them and guide them in their roles as volunteers.
Today, the club has approximately 35 active members with projects that open their eyes to the world they live in. One youth at the end of a three-hour service project came up to me and said, “ I don’t know how my mom does this every day without complaining; she works in the fields for 10 hours so she can feed me and my other brothers and sisters, and she does this every day. I can’t even do three hours without wanting to quit; I don’t know where I would be without her.” Other youth voice their concerns about going to college because no one before them has had an opportunity to do so. As their advisor, I have learned the value of listening and providing them the resources they needed. I’ve always offered advice about volunteerism and care for the world at large.
Jorge Larreamendy, now a freshman in high school, began the club as an eighth grader; he completed 120 hours in the first year of his club membership. Jorge was offered a scholarship to attend Leaders Rally, a weekend filled with team-building and social engagement.
Last summer, a former club member emailed me his acceptance
letter with a full scholarship to MIT and at the end it read, “I thought you
would like to see, because you never doubted I could.” Out of the thousands of youth whom I have met
and been a counselor for, becoming an advisor has fueled my passion for making
a difference in my community. I mentor youth ages 13 to 18 years old from
multiple areas in Palm Beach County.
Each youth has unique characteristics, upbringing and aspirations.
A decade can give you a new perspective and reflection on change and growth. It took me 14 years to be where my heart always knew it needed to be, to be part of an organization that works for providing quality improvement to support the children in out-of-school time programs because that’s where I began. It is home. I look forward to every minute of being a quality advisor for Prime Time Palm Beach County, as it is my path to find the road that leads me to open the hearts and minds of youth to make an impact on our community.