The Reality of Life As A Motorhome Resident in the Bay Area
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
4M ago
The City of Pacifica along the coast of California is encapsulated with immense beauty. Residents are surrounded by the gentle waves that crash on the shore, by the golden sand that leaves a warm comfort like no other and by trails filled with serene and earthy tones. Though they live in Pacifica, the people who reside in motorhomes are not able to enjoy the same level of serenity and stillness as others who dwell in the comfort of their homes. Instead of being treated with dignity, they are pushed into the margins while under constant pressure. To address the number of motorhome residents, t ..read more
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Foothill Gold Line Bursts Suburban Bubble
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
4M ago
In small-town California, the sun is always shining and the birdsongs are always beautiful but not loud enough to disturb anyone. The nuclear family plays on their perfect green lawn and when the children go off to their first sleepover, their parents are not too anxious because the parents hosting are old high school buddies.  Karen Cullen, descendant of the first permanent settlers of a suburban San Gabriel Valley city called Glendora, has been a resident most of her life – since 1945 – and describes her memories of the town as “a big family in a small community”: “Everybody knew each o ..read more
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A Voice from Gaza
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
4M ago
In the 21st century, society continues to witness events that violate the inalienable human rights that every individual should have access to from birth. The genocide happening in Gaza Strip, Palestine is being talked about by many but heard by few, an inhumane event where people are dying for unjustifiable reasons. As the violence escalates, I wonder, is it justified to sacrifice the lives of thousands of innocent people with the goal of uprooting the “weeds”? How is it possible that some can sleep soundly knowing that around 50% of Gaza strip population is children, and that they are i ..read more
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The First-Generation Experience when Growing Up with Low-Income Immigrant Parents
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
4M ago
The sad sighs of my mother, seeping through the thin walls of our home, tell a story all too familiar. Over the phone, my grandma discusses the essential funds she needs for medications, or the payments pending for my mom’s half-built home in Mexico. A home she’s been waiting two decades to complete and inhabit. It is in these moments where we consider reassessing our own necessities to ensure that the rent is paid on time. These are realities that serve the unrelenting cycle of hardship for undocumented people who are subjected to surviving low wages and endure barriers in accessing governmen ..read more
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Abundance For Sale: Reflections on the Bay Area Housing Crisis
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
8M ago
I am able to smell the harmonious ingredients that make up my mother’s chilaquiles with frijoles and eggs as I wake up in the morning with sunlight beaming through the blinds. With my dog by my side and the coziness of my bed covered in warm and homey blankets, I am able to sleep peacefully throughout the night. I can foresee the thrilling Friday game nights when my boisterous family competes for money during lotería and cinco loco. Every year, my family and I create new memories in my home, which functions as our time machine. I can rejoice in vivid memories from the past. I’ve been privilege ..read more
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Suburban Lullabies: My Confusion On the Edge of Middle Class
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
9M ago
Countless coming-of-age films and books center around a teenage protagonist, whose ultimate goal is to escape the great woes of suburbia. These “woes”? Typically boredom and monotony. I was born in the local Foothill Presbyterian Hospital, one of the many establishments dedicated to the defining geography of Glendora, “pride of the foothills.” My parents attended the local elementary schools, middle schools, and high school, staying to raise a family alongside their own high school friends who they’d stop to greet in the grocery store. The suburban culture raised me. However, like a child gro ..read more
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Freaking Algorithms!
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
9M ago
I love putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – and letting my imagination run wild. I have written endless short stories, penned personal essays, and authored Op-Eds. The world is my oyster as long as my brain can translate itself into words and grammatical structure. To me, writing is an outlet for creativity and my record of the beauty of being human. Growing up in San Francisco developed a large part of my identity as a writer. Born to two struggling immigrants and graduate students, where home was a two-bedroom apartment that housed five, I was immersed in diversity from a young ag ..read more
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With Food to Spare: Volunteering at an Affluent Town’s Food Bank
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
9M ago
A driver pulls into the Three Rivers Art Center parking lot, holding out two fingers representing the number of families they are picking up for. A line of volunteers drop full-sized boxes of produce into the driver’s open side door. “You sure you don’t want another box? It all needs to be gone, or it’ll go bad,” calls a volunteer next to me after recognizing the driver.  For most of my childhood, I have grown up in the traveler’s utopia of Three Rivers. It is given the name from the three Kaweah River forks that flow snowmelt from the Sierra Nevadas to the ever thirsty crops of the Cali ..read more
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AI: The Threat to the Flame Within
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
9M ago
Growing up, I did what my parents asked of me, such as doing chores around the house, taking care of my siblings, and following the path they wanted me to follow. I never questioned why I shouldn’t do as they say. After all, they only wanted what was best for me and I wanted to help them. My parents sacrificed and suffered a lot for me and my siblings. My dad especially suffered extreme hardship – it’s what our family carries within. It was hard for me to break away from the need to always repay them for that hardship. It didn’t matter if my happiness was the cost of making sure my family didn ..read more
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The Cost of Dreams in Silicon Valley
Youth Leadership Institute Blog
by María Schindler
9M ago
“Dude, my weekend was insane! I went to this pool party at my friend’s mansion. You should’ve seen her room—it was as big as your entire house!”  The words stung. Throughout my childhood, I often wondered why my mom made us eat recalentados for days, insisted on thrifting my birthday dress, or bought off-brand cereal. “Es lo mismo,” she’d say. For a long time, I thought she just didn’t appreciate the allure of malls or the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I came to realize she was walking a tight line, balancing each expense trying to stretch a $15/hr wage to cover our Silicon Valley rent ..read more
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