Poetry: I Am Beautiful

I am beautiful inside because I am funny.
I am beautiful outside because of my hair.
I am beautiful inside because I am kind.
I am beautiful on the outside because I have a pretty smile.
I am beautiful inside because I care about my friends and I try to help them.
I am beautiful on the outside because of my imperfections.
-Elena, age 11

I’m beautiful inside because I am nature loving.
I’m beautiful outside because I have a clear face.
I’m beautiful inside because I am talented.
I’m beautiful outside because I have curly hair.
I’m beautiful inside because I know what’s right and wrong.
I’m beautiful outside because I have a nice smile.
I’m beautiful inside because I am kind and gentle.
I’m beautiful outside becasue I have nice handwriting.
-Maria, age 13

I’m beautiful inside because I am curious and adventurous.
I’m beautiful outside because I have cool shoes.
Love the way you are!
Don’t get down when peole want you to be perfect. Love your flaws. Embrace yourself. You’re perfect just the way you are!
-Ashley, age 10

I Am Beautiful Inside and Out
I am beautiful on the inside because I am really warm hearted.
I really care for others.
I am really loving.
I love all people.
I am really pretty on the inside and I know it.
I am beautiful on the outside because I have good fashion.
I have a really good sense of humor.
I have pretty hair.
I’m really pretty the way I am and I know it.
-Alysssa, age 11

I am Beautiful!
Not by my looks but by my heart. I know I am beautiful on the inside and out. On the inside I care for everyone, I love everyone. I know I am not the prettiest girl out there but I am 100% original. I show my outter beauty by not hiding behind all the make up! You don’t need make up to be pretty. All you need is your heart. With it, you know you are beautiful! Show off your personality!
-Victoria, age 14

Youngly smart
-Katherine, age 12

I’m beautiful on the inside because I love my personality.
I’m beautiful on the outside because I like my smile.
I’m beautiful on the inside because I love my heart.
I’m beautiful on the outside because I like my hair.
-Katherine, age 12


-Karen, age 13

Don’t feel bad about yourself. Everybody is beautiful and awesome in their own way. Exercise and eat better. This helps in many ways. Think positive thoughts. Take your mind off of it. Put on clothes that make you feel secure.
I’m short and I’m proud of it.
I’m beautiful inside because I’m smart.
I’m beautiful outside because I have pretty eyes.
I’m beautiful inside because I’m incredible.
I’m beautiful outside because I’m skinny.
I’m beautiful inside because I’m creative.
I’m beautiful outside because I have clear skin.
I’m beautiful inside because I’m unique.
-Karen, age 13

I’m beautiful inside because
inside I’m a whole new person that no one knows.
I have a wonderful personality.
I’m beautiful outside because I think I am perfect how I am.
My eyes are handsome and beautiful. No one should judge.
I really don’t care what people call me because I know who I am and what I do. Don’t let people get you down. They’re saying that stuff because they’re jealous.
-Bella, age 14

I am kind
Nothing gets me down
Never let anybody down
Everything about me is unique
Robins inspire me
Baking is my favorite hobby
Everybody is equal in my eyes
Always be myself
Young and athletic
-Sarah, age 12

You are beautiful and you don’t need anybody to tell you that! The only person that you need to tell you that you are beautiful is you! The one thing that I have learned is that you need to be confident and you need to believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter who tells you, you are ugly or you’re not perfect. Those people do not matter. The person that should tell you what you are and what you’re not is you! Your imperfections are your beauties!! Believe in that!
I am beautiful inside because I have humor!
I am beautiful outside because I am tall. I like my lips.
I am beautiful on the inside because I am open minded and I don’t judge people. I am also very loveable.
-Sarah, age 12

I am kind
Never really put people down
Never fight
Extremely open
Really loyal

Everyone to me is made in God’s image
Talented in many ways
Young and clumsy
-Elena, age 11

I am beautiful on the inside because my cheerfulness is as big as the world. I will never get made or cheat anyone. I think I have a good sense of humor. I think I have very pretty eyes. I don’t care about what others think of me.
I am beautiful on the outside because I’m not that small or that big. I live to make people laugh. I love to learn and I love playing around with friends.
-Stephanie, age 11


-Ivonne, age 11

I am beautiful on the inside
because I like my smile
I am beautiful on the outside
because I have beautiful eyes
I am beautiful on the inside
because I have an amazing personality
I am beautiful on the outside because I wear cool clothes
-Ivonne, age 11

Dealing With Diabetes


One of the things I remember most about growing up is that my family rarely sat down together to eat a home cooked meal.  The

majority of our meals were spent eating out. We ate big, paying no attention to fat or sugar content.  All that changed when I was in the 4th grade when my father suffered a major heart attack.  Thankfully, my dear dad pulled through and made a full recovery after an eating habit makeover.  Little did we know that two years later I would be diagnosed with Type II Diabetes which would require me to undergo a lifestyle makeover of my own.

I was almost thirteen when I was diagnosed.  Change would not come easy or anytime soon.  I did not want to follow a diet and I definitely did not want to be checking my blood glucose (sugar) or taking an insulin shot before every single meal.  Nobody else my age had to do any of those things.  Why should I have to?  I couldn’t understand what the big deal was, especially because I didn’t feel sick.  Of course I didn’t.  There’s a reason diabetes is known as the silent killer.  It takes years of uncontrolled glucose levels to suffer the consequences.  I was told if I continued with bad eating habits and  uncontrolled glucose levels, I would eventually suffer long term complications such as blindness, amputated limbs, or kidney failure.  Although the thought of any of these things happening to me was scary, it wasn’t enough to make me comply.  I ignored my disease every chance I got- that is, when my parents weren’t looking.

The summer after being diagnosed, my family and I took a trip to Atlanta, Georgia for a family reunion.  One of my relatives volunteered to take my cousins and I to Six Flags.  After hours of nonstop fun and rides, it was time to grab a bite.  My parents were not there to supervise and I took complete advantage of it.  When my aunt asked what I wanted to order, I asked for a funnel cake even though I knew I wasn’t supposed to.  That night, I had the worst cotton mouth and couldn’t make the thirst go away no matter how much water I drank.  My mother noticed and immediately made me check my glucose.  Needless to say, it was through the roof.  She demanded to know why my glucose was so high and became furious with me after learning about the funnel cake.  The whole ordeal was frustrating.  I wondered why I couldn’t just be a normal kid that didn’t have to think twice about what she ate.  I hated being diabetic.  Aside from the inconveniences it was causing, it also made me different from my peers which is not something anybody entering their teenage years wants.

On one occasion in the seventh grade, I called my mom from school to ask if during lunch she would bring a cake for my friend’s birthday.  She brought the cake accompanied by a bag of sugar-free cookies for me.  I didn’t mind the cookies because I thought they tasted decent.  I remember thinking it was thoughtful of her to bring them.  That thought quickly changed.  One of my friends was curious and wanted to taste the cookies since she’d never heard of “sugar free”.  I was excited by her curiosity and handed her one.  My excitement was quickly turned to embarrassment the second she took a bite of the cookie.  Her face said it all before she opened her mouth and declared, “That’s disgusting!”  It wasn’t her comment that made me angry.  It was my mom’s failure to pretend, just this once, that I wasn’t diabetic.  I wished she hadn’t brought the cake in the first place.  It would’ve been less embarrassing to say, “She’s at work,” instead of “yeah, they’re pretty gross huh?”

I made up my mind that I would ignore my condition and continued with my rebellious ways.  Nothing was going to keep me from fitting in at high school parties or college social events.  That attitude landed me in the hospital twice a few years later.  I was handed a well deserved reality check.  I underwent two surgeries, one for my liver and the other for my appendix.  In order to recover from these operations, my sugars needed to be in control so that the wounds would heal correctly.  My disobedience had finally caught up to me.  One of the wounds became infected and I became very ill.  The physical pain of being sick made me realize just how much I’d been taking my health for granted.  Essentially I had been gambling my life away each time I refused to take my medication and made poor food choices.

Once I recovered from the long and agonizing hospital stay, I knew that I never wanted to feel that sick again.  I had a choice to make.  I could continue to risk my health or I could take responsibility for myself and own up to my behavior.  I chose the latter and never looked back.  I admit, there are days when I don’t feel like exercising and there are definitely days when temptation gets the best of me.  But what I realized is that Diabetes doesn’t have to control me.  I am the one in the driver’s seat and I am fully capable of managing my condition with the choices I make.  And for every healthy decision I make, I am essentially saving my life.

Calista Caroline Burns, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Calista Caroline Burns, age 11
Nominated by:  Girls Inc. of San Antonio
Hometown:  San Antonio, Texas

Volunteer Experience:  Calista has fed meals to the eldery during Thanksgiving. She was one of the top 5 fundraisers for the iWin Joe Jonas Fun Run Benefitting the Special Olympics. Calista has also volunteered at a local children’s home during their annual Funlympics Day. Her 3rd place Lemonade Stand for Most Successful Business for National Lemonade Day, proceeds went to a local charity. Calista also participated and helped plan and facilitate a Girls Inc town hall on the topic of nutrition and health for kids at Girls Inc.

Challenges She Has Overcome:  Her parents divorced early in her life. The adjustment from moving between parents was tough. However, both her mother and father keep a healthy relationship for Calista’s well-being.

Leadership Experience:  Calista is a natural giver. Whether it is helping the elderly, children or animals, Calista always wants to give back and help those in need. Calista is a very humble young lady. She knows she is fortunate to have parents that award her of many opportunities and experiences, and she realizes that many are not that lucky. Her big heart is what motivates her to help others. She is always thinking of ways to better serve the needy and the underserved.

Extracurricular Activities :  Calista’s extra-curricular activities include: Kate Schenk Elementary Student Council President; Peer Assistant Leadership (PALs); photography club, patrols, and choir.  Her hobbies include: singing, guitar, swimming, dance, art, modeling and acting.

Positive Role Model:  Although Calista is only 11 years old, she has had ample opportunities to build her leadership skills. With these leadership skills she now possesses, Calista is always willing to help girls her age find their inner strength. Calista spends her summer with Girls Inc enrolled in the Glenda Woods Girls University Summer Camp. She is with girls younger and older than her for 10 weeks out of the summer. Throughout the days the girls are taught different curricula. If a girl doesn’t understand a concept, Calista is the first to help that young girl out. If someone gets hurts during sports, Calista is the first to be by her side to see if she is ok. Calista serves as an ambassador for Girls Inc in which she has spoken on behalf of Girls Inc to board members, community members and media. The girls see her as a role model because she is not afraid to speak to other adults or especially in front of the camera. After they have seen her poise, the girls are always interested in learning about the ambassador program.

Geneva Marie Salinas 20 Latinitas Under 20

Geneva Marie Salinas, age 16
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Nominated By:
LULAC Council #1 Feria De las Flores

Volunteer Experience:
She currently volunteers at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. As of this summer, she has volunteered given over 270 hours to the hospital in the past year.  She is also a Youth Leader at her church, Holy Family, where she spreads the Word of God to teens and been an alter server for over five years. She inspired her little brother to become an altar server, like his big sister.  She is passionate about children and her goal in life is to change at least one child’s life for the better.  She plans on becoming a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. Her motivation to be the person she is today is her family, and of course God.

What challenges has she overcome?:
She believes that a good education opens unimaginable doors for the future that can make a very significant impact on one’s life.  A recent challenge she is working on is earning a spot in the top ten percent of her class.  So far she has worked her way from top twenty to top fifteen percent.

What extra-curricular activities is she involved in?:

She competed in the 52nd Annual Feria De Las Flores and placed as the first runner up and Miss Congeniality.  She participated in HOSA, Health Occupation Students of America competing in Physical Therapy and making it to the State competition; she plans to continue next school year. She is also part of the dance department; this year she will be in dance two.  Also, she is in the Health Science Academy at Foy H. Moody High School and applied for a Co-Op Internship at CHRISTUS Spohn.  She will start interning at Spohn Shoreline as a Rehab Tech in the Rehabilitation Department. Her hobbies are playing tennis, dancing and swimming and enjoys medical shows such as Dr. G: Medical Examiner and Bizarre ER.

How is she a good example and positive role model to other girls?:

As someone who cares for the well-being of others, she does her best to try to brighten someones day, one person and one day at a time by always keeping a smile on her face no matter the situation, because she believes that staying positive makes an enormous difference in the end. She believes a simple smile or “Hi, how are you?” to someone can really make their day; one never knows how another’s day is going.

Emma Hernandez 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Emma Hernandez

Organization: Latino/a Youth Collective of Indiana

Age: 18

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Volunteer Experience:

Emma is an outstanding speaker and leader. She talks and leads from her heart and mind.  People listen attentively to her because they know something especially insightful and well expressed will be gained. People sense Emma’s intelligence and her deep kindness together. They are moved by her authenticity and they understand the points she wishes to make because she is able to bring everything down to earth while retaining clarity.  People deeply trust Emma because of her consistency, honesty, her humble but simultaneously strong manner, and her high integrity.

What challenges has she overcome?:

Emma was born into a mixed status family! Both of her parents are undocumented immigrants.  Emma recently co-wrote an article about the immediacy of the Dream Act which propelled her to become one of the Indiana Hunger Strikers. They very effectively secured a “YES” vote from both state senators as well as organize and mobilize alliances and community pressure on all 9 Indiana U.S. House of Representatives. This past summer, she led her Campesine Youth Academy team through a challenging participatory action research process that involved in-depth interviews, surveys, and producing a film that would be used to educate the community. Their film “Mamachismo” is excellent work! The issue they were investigating was the role of women in our society. She is a big reason why Latina/o youth in Indianapolis are standing up!  It is because of her heart and mind that she just received a 4 year full paid scholarship to college where she will double major in art and journalism.

What makes her a leader?:

She knows that education is for liberation and freedom. It is not just skills, higher income, and privilege. She wants an education to be an active agent in the process of cultural formation and cultural change; to get highly developed and go back and to give back to her community in Indianapolis, Mexico and the world.  Emma also sets an example to her two younger siblings and other youth. As an older sibling she has been a role model for not only her family but for aspiring and newly emerging Latina/o community in Indiana.  She is undoubtedly a one in a billion sort of person. She has a calling to make significant positive changes in society.

What extra-curricular activities is she involved in?:

Currently, Emma works with Indianapolis youth members of the Latino/a Youth Collective of Indiana, Campesine Youth Academy, and the Campecine Film Festival.  Emma operates within the philosophy that regardless of race, culture or social status, all students have the ability to acquire knowledge.  She believes in empowering youth to become critical change agents who are prepared to transform their communities while also developing within those communities.

How is she a good example and positive role model to other girls?:

In addition to her remarkable talent and determination, she remains riveted on the needs of children and youth, their families and communities, and their educational achievements. She pays attention to the goals of the organization, change strategies when necessary, and shares credit for successes. She is a reliable and an insightful critic of her own projects. A gifted, inspiring public speaker, she also knows how to work with small groups and individuals, engage in team building, and capture these interactions on tape. She is a leader and an excellent collaborator and colleague – another rare blend of character and ability.  She wrote, directed, and produced Mamachismo, Huevo Estrellado, and The History of the World as Told by Eggs. This summer she was the first from her family to graduate from high school.  In addition to receiving a full scholarship to college she volunteered this summer to expand the prestigious Campecine Youth Academy in San Antonio, TX. She traveled over 1,200 miles to the southside of San Antonio to work with a grassroots community based organization named Fuerza Unida. She successfully implemented a 10-week summer youth program and trained 13 youth in youth participatory action research, videography, and community building facilitation skills. In short, she is a role model for young women and young men.

Michelle Deaver-Arce 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Michelle Deaver-Arce

College: McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Age: 17

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Honors: In 2010, Michelle was the youngest Artist (accepted by a Jury) to participate in the East Austin Studio Tour of over 400 artists.  She has been commissioned by the Austin Classical Guitar Society to create a painting based on of one of the themes from Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”.  One of her paintings was featured at the Austin’s Pictures performance on October 1st, 2011.

What challenges has she overcome?: Never considering herself a public speaker, Michelle has overcome a natural shyness.  She is thoughtful and articulate in her public announcements and introductions–ranging from describing her art and concepts to curators and critics, to fronting for her band in a crowd of peers.  Her artistic commitment empowers her in ever-increasing ways within her own age group and beyond.

What extra-curricular activities is she involved in?: Michelle’s hobbies include cycling and music.  She plays bass guitar in the band “Charlie Belle” formed with two younger friends.  For three consecutive years, her band has been invited to perform at several different venues for SXSW, an annual music conference and festival held in Austin, Texas.  The band was also invited to play at Pease Elementary’s “End of the Year” Festival for the last two school years as model examples of young locally-inspired musicians. They have also played at Cheer up Charlie’s, Antone’s, The Whip In, KUT Studio 1A, The Austin Convention Center, Planned Parenthood, and City Hall.

How is she a good example and positive role model to other girls?: Her busy artistic and family life often requires her to care for her two younger elementary age siblings, During these times she and her siblings have created handmade cards and paintings for homebound senior citizens, terminally ill patients, and many others. Soft spoken, Michelle has a balance of passion and compassion that is a rare gift in someone her age – yet she is still a very modern teenager.  After participating in the Young Artist program at Arthouse at the Jones Center, Michelle contributed three pieces of her art to be sold at the “Five x Seven” show, which is a fundraiser benefiting Arthouse’s other educational programs and exhibitions.

Cyndi Jimenez 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Cyndi Jimenez

Organization: Workers Defense Project

Age: 19

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Volunteer Experience:

As a youth member of a social justice advocacy organization Workers Defense Project (WDP), Cyndi has taken on a leadership role that rivals many of the adult members. She has run employment rights trainings in front of construction workers twice her age, and in addition to being able to hold her own and deliver the information, she is able to convince trainees to act out scenarios in front of the class. She has completed the leadership training course WDP offers and participates in monthly member meetings. Above and beyond her involvement as a member, Cyndi volunteers her time providing childcare, calling supporters about upcoming events, and contributing her ideas and energy to further the organization’s objectives. This is not simply volunteering: it is living as an energetic, active member of a dynamic community. At the root of Cyndi’s passion is her awareness that the issues she tackles with WDP are a matter of life and death, particularly in Texas, where every 2.5 days a construction worker dies on the job. Construction workers are subjected to unsafe working conditions that have cost many their lives and continue to jeopardize the safety of other construction workers, including Cyndi’s father.

What challenges has she overcome?:

As immigrants in the U.S., Cyndi and her family face challenges that most U.S. citizens do not think twice about. From workplace abuse to navigating the educational system to interacting with people and institutions that are unwelcoming and/or alienating to immigrants, Cyndi’s firsthand knowledge of injustice afforded her a unique perspective regarding inequality and the active role she can play in addressing and overcoming those injustices. Her high level of involvement with WDP connected her to others outside of school from which she could seek guidance in order to graduate from high school and prepare for college. As the oldest child in her family she uses her bilingualism to serve as the bridge connecting her parents to several institutions and to advocate for her parents and for her family’s well-being. Despite her young age, Cyndi has assumed responsibilities that one typically associates with adults/parents and displayed an exceptional degree of courage. Cyndi’s willingness to be so vocal and visible is even more remarkable given the anti-immigrant sentiment prevalent in Texas that has caused many immigrants and their families to remain silent when they are being taken advantage of and/or discriminated against.

What makes her a leader?:

She is a daughter, sister, friend, ally, and community leader. Working alongside her is confirmation that you’re on the right team. Through the hard work, time, and effort she contributes every day to building a strong community, she has made – and will continue to make – tangible, important differences in the world. The members, staff, and volunteers of WDP, Cyndi’s family and friends, and community members in Austin who fight for social justice have a lot to learn from such a vibrant, outspoken, inspiring, and fearless young Latina.

What extra-curricular activities is she involved in?:

Given all of her involvement in her family and community, it is almost surprising that Cyndi has energy to commit to other activities, but she does, and she approaches her interests with the same fervor as she approaches all other aspects of her life. Cyndi recently graduated from high school. She will be taking her passion and talent for art and self-expression to Austin Community College to study graphic design and photography. Cyndi’s love of music, anime, and experimenting with make-up and fashion are also all a testament of her creative and unique spirit. In general, Cyndi is not afraid to push and expand boundaries not only for her sake, but also for the sake of others.

How is she a good example and positive role model to other girls?:

Cyndi has changed the lives of the people around her both through her commitment to advocacy and activism and through her compassionate, winning personality. The work she does changes the lives of people in her community, and the attitude she brings to it changes whomever she meets. Cyndi provides an amazing example of empowerment to her younger sister, who at age seven knows a good classroom rule is, “que respetamos a las mujeres!” She encourages the younger girls who participate in WDP to stand up for themselves and take care of one and other, and their adoration for her is proof that she has made a positive impact on their lives.