Before attending the MMSY program, I spent my days sleeping until noon and hanging out with friends. Some days I would go to the park with my dad and play basketball with him and my brother, and other days I would watch TV. Most days I would wake up, eat breakfast and then go on the computer to see what people were doing that day, or to see what I was doing that day. I liked to go to the park and train for the baseball season with my friend Willie. I did that almost every weekend and a few times a week. I also trained for the basketball season with my dad, brother and my friends Akil, Josny and Courtney.

Although I did do a lot of nothing, I did do a lot of writing, too. I had a few weeks where I would write all the time. I wrote poetry, for the most part, about things that happened in my life at the time. Sometimes though I wrote a journal entry from someone else's perspective about things that they were going through. For example if my friends told me about something that they were having problems with, I would try to put myself in their position and write about what they were going through. Sometimes I wasn't always accurate, but it was worth a try.

When I first started the MMSY program, I was very nervous that I wasn't going to make friends. I also worried that I would be different from the others in a bad way, and for the first day, that was true. I wasn't dressed in the proper attire that we were asked to wear and I was very quiet and to myself because I didn't know what people would think of me.

During the course of the first day, though, I learned that the United Nations was created to bring people closer together and to make peace worldwide. When we were learning about the Peace Corps. we learned that peace keeping is more than just keeping the opposing sides apart, that its about building tolerance. It is about all the communities, not only the two conflicting communities. After hearing all this I realized that I probably wasn't much different from the other young adults at this program. We all wanted to be tolerant of other cultures and religions and we wanted to become more aware of what was going on within the United Nations and around the world.

I learned a lot about the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's). When we were at the WHO I learned that the WHO provides tech issues for outbreak and disease. 500,000 women die yearly from pregnancy complication and 99% are in developing countries, mostly Africa. 33 million people die worldwide of HIV/AIDS: 5,700 die daily from HIV/AIDS: 6,800 are infected with HIV/AIDS daily. We learned other things also, like mental disorders will be the number one killer in 10 or so years.

The MDG's have been established for nine years and many countries haven't completed many, if any, of their goals. We learned at the Stand Up Organization how we can promote awareness about buckling down and working on completing these goals. Four of the MDG's are about health. Overall though, the MDG's talk about gender equality, eradication of poverty & hunger as well as many other severe problems.

When I see that there are so many things wrong with the world, so many things outside our country, it really makes you want to change something. During the MMSY program, I often found myself thinking of ways that I could change this in my borough, my city, my state, my country, or even the world.

I made a conclusion that I am going to start in my state by organizing a Stand Up to Poverty event at my school. I am going to involve my school community and the community of people around the school and city to come and join me to promote the awareness of the Millennium Development Goals. I also decided that I was going to begin to explain to people what goes on worldwide. For example the trafficking of women and children, even men. Since I am taking a class in school this year on the Human Rights, I decided that I would also apply what I learned from the MMSY program to what I am going to work on this school year: my papers, class discussions etc.

I feel that even though we were only a group of 15 youth students this year, we could change many things within our city, or even our state alone. Spreading the knowledge that we have learned is one of the most productive things we could do. To be able to send it on is a chain reaction. A tiny spark can create a raging fire. I want to be that tiny spark that creates the raging fire of knowledge and leadership. I'd like to be the fire that destroys poverty and hunger, one that heals the sick and diseased, and most importantly creates world peace.



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

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights