It is my personal belief and my conviction that every child, every young person, if given the right tools in life, can achieve anything they dare to achieve. Empowering youth to reach their full potential, to do what is hard and achieve what is great is my passion.
Ariel is a peer educator with YouthResource.
Thinking back to my experience coming out to family and friends, I cannot help but think of the sheer fear and loneliness that I felt during those times. Perhaps it was the helplessness or isolation that I felt during those first few months, the questions or the intrigue I had about all those feelings and emotions inside of me. Whatever it was, I think back at those moments and I cannot help but be extremely interested and highly motivated in helping others overcome those feelings and those moments in life.
For many years of my life, helping youth realize that they are not alone in their life endeavors; helping youth understand their rights and their power within their everyday lives; empowering youth to take charge of their identity; empowering them to become who they are; and empowering youth to ask questions and challenge group mentality and majority opinions, has been my life work.
It has been that personal drive and interest that has led to where I stand today in life. In my professional life, I work as a Social Recreation Coordinator at Portland’s largest non-profit youth development organization. Our mission is to provide guidance to youth ages 6-18 and instill within each of them a sense of belonging and power and influence over their lives. We work to enable all our members to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens and we instill these potentials in every program and activity we do.
Born in Panama, I was raised in Portland, Oregon where I continue to make my home today. It is here where I continue to advocate for the rights and responsibilities of youth of all ages. My advocacy work, at various governmental, non-governmental, community, and advocacy entities has revolved around issues primarily related to youth including but not limited to underage drinking, obesity, and adolescent risky behaviors such as alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Character development, cultural awareness, and fostering and nurturing leadership have also been passions of mine for some years now.
It is my personal belief and my conviction that every child, every young person, if given the right tools in life, can achieve anything they dare to achieve. Empowering youth to reach their full potential, to do what is hard and achieve what is great is my passion. I know a little bit about everything and I’m always standing by with an open mind ready to listen to any question or thoughts you may have.