Eve Giovenco
Special to the Sun

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April 18, 2014
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Adventure Risk Challenge | Alondra Chavez learns to fly

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — “It’s pretty much impossible to be around Alondra for more than five minutes without laughing. Her enthusiastic attitude spreads smiles throughout every day,” said Sean McAlindin, program coordinator for Adventure Risk Challenge.

Alondra Chavez will tell you she came to ARC at a dark time in her life. She felt she needed to mask her true self in order to be accepted by others. She said, “Honestly, it sounds shallow, but one of my biggest fears was that people wouldn’t treat me the same without my makeup on. I was scared of leaving that behind and getting comfortable with myself. It might be small for some people, but for me it’s my personality.”

Then she spent the summer with ARC, and learned she could peel away her protective social shell and feel proud of who she truly is. Alondra’s self-confidence is growing. “Now I speak up to people. If I disagree with someone, I say something. Before, I would let people step over me a lot and now I stand up,” she said.

The lessons Alondra learned in self-respect and confidence last summer are still unfolding as she continues to grow into a young woman she herself can fully believe in. One of the strongest messages she took from the summer course was “learn how to embrace everything about you.”

Alondra’s personal experience has had such an impact that she has become involved with Latin Pride, a group that works to change negative stereotypes about Latinos. Using the leadership skills she learned in ARC, she is not afraid of addressing areas of growth and challenging her peers to step up. Alondra cares deeply about her peers and having them reach their full potential.

Alondra has gone from feeling iffy about college to saying she is absolutely going. She is now open to discovering the passion that will motivate her to work hard to get there. “I finally found myself and I feel so proud of who I am,” she said.

To read her poem about learning to fly, visit www.tahoedailytribune.com

PUSHING TO FLY

By Alondra Chavez

I am an Osprey

Beginning as a delightful surprise to my parents

Always flying toward my parents for help and love

Soaring through the sky but always looking back to them

Little by little my parents love for each other began to decrease

Affecting my family’s unity

A minor but hurtful storm hit once a week

However we were forced to act as if everything was okay

Our nest was beginning to drop

No one took the effort to fix it

Until a huge storm hit

Strong enough to drop our nest

Completely scattering everything I had known

Our nest wasn’t the only thing I lost

The storm took my father with it too

I was hit with the lightning of reality

My father was no longer there

My Mom became the father I needed

Always being there

Never showing how tired she really was

Never knowing all the meals I threw away whenever she turned her back

After 2 years, my father found his way back

But my mother had become a strong independent Osprey

No longer needing a man

My hopes of becoming the family I had missed for so long

Were crushed

Feeling as if someone had me in a cage

And was making me watch the nightmare

Fighting hard but not being heard

I had to choose between two winds

Unsure of which one I wanted to follow

I decided to follow the person I had lost years filled with love

I decided to follow the person that needed support

I decided to follow my father

We landed where there was anger and jealousy

Meeting new people who were like dead trees

Dead trees without hope or any more life in them

They overflowed with apathy

I tried to ignore their advice

Which would only lead me to downfall.

Surrounded with dead trees but having the light

That I needed

My father and sister are my light

They helped me enjoy life

Get healthy again

They took me to the highest peak

So I could begin to fly

Just one thing was missing

My mother

Who had decided not to talk to me

I felt like a wing had been cut off

I did not have the support

I needed

I learned how to ignore the gap

Never learning how to fix it

Two years passed

Until my mom broke out from her pride

And flew to me

She led me to a beautiful place

Relaxing and happy

I began to recover

Suddenly a rush of winds invited me to follow

Finally having the support I needed

I felt strong enough

To push myself to fly far off to places

Where I began to find myself

Realizing my abilities

And strength

Being able to fly

Knowing I have all the support

I need

Now I have goals

Goals that keep me flying forward

To go to college

Be confident

Be my own leader

Have trust in myself

Find what I

Am passionate about

Goals that are my fish

Waiting for my precise opportunity to catch it

Flying higher and faster towards it

Not needing anyone to lead me to it

Waiting to get home

To show my parents what I have accomplished

To prove I am

STRONG


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated May 6, 2014 08:12PM Published Apr 18, 2014 03:20PM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.