I volunteered to give away bikes to Danbury kids during my first month as a Danbury Youth Services board member. Our organization has an Earn-A-Bike program in which local Danbury children learn how to fix bikes and keep one each at the end of the program. More than 100 bikes were fixed for the give-away. The number of families that lined up for a new bike really opened my eyes; handing bikes and helmets to the kids gave new meaning to my life. I learned anyone can spend time and make a positive difference in the community. Hopefully the families send kids to our programs so they can learn some tangible skills to achieve more goals.
Review from #MyGivingStory
Once upon a time, in a far-away place known as Danbury, lived a small village girl. She was shy and didn't know what her potential was. But when she went to the village middle school, she learned of this wonderful new program called Girls As Leaders, or GALs, created by Danbury Youth Services. It was a weekly gathering of girls where they learned to exercise leadership skills and build self-confidence. She was fascinated, and glad to know there was somewhere she could go to truly be herself.
At first, she was reluctant, because she didn't believe that a small group of girls could change her life'but it soon did. Throughout the next two years, she managed to transform from a shy caterpillar into a beautiful, confident butterfly. She made not only friends, but sisters. She learned to be a proud, beautiful young lady, and nothing anybody said could change that. She never knew that a place so magical could exist. It showed her that it was okay to be different, and that if you did everything with joy, you would prosper greatly.
Eventually it was time for her to part with GALs as she moved on to high school. She took the lessons she learned in the program and used them in her following years. She became an honors student, and ran for class president. Though she lost, she knew it was okay.
The GALs program had opened her up to many opportunities and introduced her to her true passion: volunteering. She began giving her time to local non-profits, including DYS, Jericho Partnership, Youth Corp, Ability Beyond, the YMCA of Western Connecticut, and the Family resource Center. She co-founded a local chapter of I Go Pink, the outreach arm of Breast Cancer Charities of America (BCCA), raising research funding through fashion shows. And she became enrichment coordinator of the Western Connecticut State University ConnCAP/Upward Bound Program, which helps Danbury High School students to develop their academic potential and achieve their goal of becoming the first in their family to be admitted to college.
The girl accomplished all of this before finishing high school! Then, at the age of 18, she earned her real estate license! While pursuing a degree in business administration at Western Connecticut State University, she continued to volunteer at various programs, including the Hord Foundation, which awards college scholarships to African American youth. She also developed her early passion for fashion, coaching girls in the art of fashion photography and competing in pageants. This once-shy girl was crowned Miss Dominican 2015.
In the spring of 2017, she will earn a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in small business and entrepreneurship.
As the years passed and the girl became a woman, she realized just how important GALs had been to her success. My name is Lisbeth Rivas, and I am that girl. If it was not for the love and support of my sisters in the GALs Club, I wouldn't be where I am today. They are more than a group, they are my family. GALs taught me to be myself, and even showed me who I am. And that is why I have given my time and financial support to Danbury Youth Services.
Review from #MyGivingStory