I have been living in my neighborhood since I was born; I am now 18 years old and my community has had a huge impact on my life. Growing up I did not really understand the violence in my environment but now that I realize what is going on I really dislike it. I have lost a few loved ones due to all the negativity surrounding me. My community means a lot to me and people look at me differently because of where I am from. In my neighborhood, I am just labeled as another statistic so I feel as if I have to prove myself.
To make my community better I participate in my block clean-ups, I help the elderly on my block, and I also played a part in Leaders of Change. In Leaders of Change, my group did research on gun violence in our community. We partnered up with the Enterprise Center and we conducted interviews and held roundtable conversations. My community means a lot to me and I will do whatever I can to make it better.
–Ashley Hook ’11