Frequent unemployment, destructive alcoholism, and oppressing abuse are the norm in my family and community of East Los Angeles. The street walls are crudely sketched with graffiti, and the police sirens and hovering helicopters are often heard. Growing up, both my parents educated my sisters and me with the principles and morals of our culture; the most admirable lesson being the importance of service towards others.
School served as a safe haven for me, a fortress against the financial struggles my family faced, my father's battle against alcoholism, and my own insecurity. My parents always stressed the importance of an education, since poverty prevented both of them from attending school. This belief in the power of education prompted my parents to encourage me to participate in a semester of Model United Nations in sixth grade. Model United Nations was a stepping stone for me to overcome the issues that internally troubled me as a child. I felt happiness in repeatedly debating, endlessly rewriting my country's position paper, and giving countless hours towards crafting a solution for a global issue. I grew to love the United Nations for its purpose, to help improve mankind, but also for what it did for me on a personal level. I was able to look people in the eyes, discuss and defend my beliefs, and no longer feel ashamed of the troubles I faced. Since then, the United Nations has served as a symbol of hope, strength and a better tomorrow. It epitomized the core value of service to others that my mother exemplified. In a world filled with devastating poverty, deadly hunger, and unscrupulous injustice, the United Nations is my beacon light of hope that one day no man, woman or child will succumb to disease, malnutrition or abuse.
I hope to achieve my career goal by attending a four year university to prepare me for the scholarly and social challenges I will face. The Perlman Foundation scholarship will allow me to meet the financial needs of college, while also upholding the values the program stands for. Although the violence, graffiti, and poverty may suppress the beauty of Los Angeles to the common man with a narrow mind, the true beauty of Boyle Heights can be felt with the spirit of compassion that radiates through some of its residents. It is this spirit that I hope to one day carry out into the world.