California YouthBuild Days 2016: A Student’s Perspective

Written by YouthBuild student, Havah Sterns.

During our 2016 YouthBuild trip to Sacramento, I learned various things about leadership and the consciousness shift the Government is having. There were a few amazing seminars I attended, one of which spoke about the fallacy of labels and how this world functions on them. During the class, they had us go around the room looking at certain pictures and we had to write down what we thought about that individual solely based on what they looked like at that very moment, negating who they are. After everyone gave their opinion, the instructor read the labels out loud and then told us what their occupation is and a small description of who they are. After everyone heard the truth, they all felt quite guilty. The seminar was to teach us that labels are not who we are. The truth about who we are lies within our soul. The instructor continued to educate us about the truth of equality and how we are all the same.

Havah Sterns (pictured left) practicing her elevator presentation with YouthBuild alumni at California YouthBuild Days Leadership Development Conference in Sacramento.

The next memorable event I enjoyed was the keynote speaker at the end of the day. He had an amazing slideshow to go along with his empowering story. He spoke about his troubled past and how he rose to victory through the lessons of his journey. One of the slides that caught my attention was a poem from Tupac Shakur titled, “A Rose That Grew From Concrete.” Despite the adversity in life, it is possible to break through into unbelievable beauty and greatness. The second slide that caught my eye was a quote from Albert Einstein saying “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” This quote is phenomenally profound. We all have an infinite amount of power, we are all gifted in our own ways, and we all have an inner voice designated to change the world. As leaders, we must empower that voice, we must empower our authenticity and cultivate our true being. We must unite and become the change we wish to see in the world, one step at a time.

During the tour at the Capitol, they introduced a new bill being turned into law that I grew very passionate about. This bill is called SB 1216 and it gives a tax incentive to employers to hire people with a criminal record who are trying to better themselves. Society generally views criminals as a malignant cancer-a continuous poison that will only worsen with no hope of change. The fact that their perception is such that they now view felons as lost individuals as opposed to inherently bad people, gives me hope that this world will heal and continue healing.

Cloud & Fire students on the front steps of the Capitol.

About the Author

Havah Sterns (pictured bottom right)  is a current YouthBuild student and part of the YouthBuild Policy Council (YBPC).