Prior to participating in the MMSY Program, I participated in countless summer programs promoting leadership and diversity. Recently attending the National Hispanic Institute (NHI)‘s Lorenzo De Zavala Youth Legislative Session in Rochester, New York. The program’s goal is for rising juniors and seniors to envision themselves as part of the future leadership of the 21st Century Latino community. We learned how to make a difference and how to thrive as a leader by creating our own government and electing our own leaders.

As soon as I returned, I quickly began the MSY Program.  From the moment I began I was educated on the importance of tolerance, how someone like myself can make a difference, and the richness of diversity.  I was not aware of how unique the UN really was. From the fact the UN is its own territory to having its own police, firefighters, and post office. I learned how the UN functioned within its own branches and each of their specific importance to the UN. We learned about Human Rights from the Office of Human Rights. My view of the world was so narrow, being unaware that not having access to clean water or shelter was a violation of Human Rights. Equally important is how the New York office ensures that the UN activities are incorporated in the day-to-day work of the United Nations. 
At the Museum of Tolerance we were able to view tools used in the past to dehumanize races and learn about previous genocides I never heard of. It was eye opening.  I began to question how our society had not learned from our horrible mistakes.
Visiting the Met, I anticipated viewing breathtaking exhibits, but little did I know we were going to be viewing the Cyrus Cylinder.  We learned about Cyrus, his time period, who he was, what he did, and what his biggest accomplishments in history were. He created the Cyrus Cylinder, which has become the first iconic symbol of Human Rights. We were lucky to see the document that has become the basis for human rights and tolerance that happens to be on tour this year and having its stop at the Met.
At UNICEF we got a sneak preview of their newest campaign which was #ENDViolence. The campaign focuses on ending all forms of abuse and violence towards children. We were given action bags that included things such as pamphlets, stickers, and buttons to help promote the campaign. We also got to watch a film called Peace One Day. The film was about Jeremy Gilley who wanted to create Peace One Day, which was a day in which he hoped that all fire would cease and could potentially create peace one day. The film was impacting and emotionally moving. It was hard to see a man who wanted to do great things for the world to be turned down by everyone he came into contact with. A part of the movie that really stuck with me and made me reflect was when he wanted to figure a way to promote the day with a celebration. By coming into contact with Angelina Jolie, the day was promoted by her celebrity status. I was very confused as to why it took a celebrity to promote something that should have been promoted all by itself.  Peace is something that doesn’t need a celebrity or a competition to promote; peace is something we should all strive to have especially in a world filled with violence and hatred. The film really made me think why I hadn’t seen it before or why I had never heard of the day itself. I really believe Peace One Day is a day that should be celebrated.
Our self-reflection sessions were the most insightful.  The session provided by Mahroo taught me to examine and reflect on my personal self.  The card game exercise that we played made me realize that I need to speak out more on things that bother me or affect me. It was really great to see the transformation with my peers and learn that my peers and I have many things in common. It was comforting to hear similar problems that my peers have that I had in the past and be able to offer advice and ways to overcome them. Similarly, when I spoke to them about my challenges many were able to offer advice on how to overcome them as well. We all learned about different techniques on reflecting and showing our emotions. We all talked about our different ethnicities and how our culture influences us. It was great hearing about other cultures I never knew about and the sharing of my own culture. The goodbyes were hard but we all made plans to catch up in the coming year.
Each day when I left the program, I was armed with new tools on how to implement what I learned in my everyday life. Most importantly, education is very important. Having the knowledge of the impact of racial slurs such as “spic” or “nigger” and the history of its origin. From the Museum of Tolerance trip, I learned that when you seem forms of intolerance, you must speak out on it. I will definitely stop and question those who use terms such as those. I realize I must be brave and speak out on things that are not just. I also have learned that passing judgments on those individuals we know nothing of, is not acceptable. Time after time, those I know and myself, at times have looked at someone and have judged them. It is not okay to judge someone you know little or nothing about. I will also take it upon myself to promote and help campaigns such as #ENDViolence. Due to living in New Jersey and attending school in Pennsylvania, I have much more opportunity to spread the word of organizations and campaigns that want to promote making a difference in the world.
A mission of mine is to also promote the MMSY Program. I can help the program by talking to friends, community members, or school peers about the program and how the program has positively influenced me. By speaking out on what I have learned, I can hopefully attract other youth on wanting to participate in a life-changing program.
It was great to have met people that have similar drives and passions as me. I will definitely take the individual lessons they taught me and take them with me in my life. Lastly, it has been inspiring to share in the vision of the founder of the organization being afforded an amazing opportunity to grow in knowledge but as a just human being.

ALL human beings are born FREE and EQUAL in dignity and rights. 

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights