LearnServe Fellows Graduation Reflections
by Xiomara Rojas-Asqui, LearnServe Alumni Ambassador
Good Evening, My name is Xiomara Rojas and I attend School Without Walls. I was a LearnServe Fellow — sitting in your place just one year ago — and have had the pleasure of serving as a LearnServe Alumni Ambassador this year.
I came to Learn Serve last year as a fellow ready to do something on Illegal Immigration and came out with a venture called ReThink UR Trash. My venture rallies for recycling in D.C. Public High Schools and this year has been focused on School Without Walls. We have relabeled the recycling bins, gotten the custodial staff to support us, and attended two protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline. I was able to build my venture thanks to all the lessons covered last year about team building, budget, action plans and really get motivated to keep going by the wonderful guest speakers. At the same time I learned about social entrepreneurship and its importance, something I never really thought about and being part of.
This year as a LearnServe Alumni, not only were the lessons I learned from last year reinforced and strengthened, but I was able to really see the importance of getting the young people involved in social entrepreneurship. We have been told many times that we are the future. But at the same time as teens we are seen as irresponsible, carefree individuals. By being part of LearnServe you all have shown that is not the case, that we can be leaders and make change. I ask that you all believe and embrace that leader in you. Do not get discouraged if your venture is slow in the beginning or does not go as planned. As we have heard from other leaders it took some years to really get into that launching mode and then boom. I also want you all think about some wise words from Scott. He told me once that as chaotic as the world is, if nobody had taken that first step — where would we be? I want you all to take this at a more personal level and think about what if I had not held that workshop? Or a clean-up? What if those students were still ignorant about the harmful chemicals in that beauty product or those teens did not have that basketball tournament to stay away from the streets.
I hope you all enjoyed your time as fellows. And I hope all of you will stay involved, by becoming ambassadors or coming out to the events and service projects for next year’s fellows. LearnServe is a great family to be part of and as members of this family, do not let go. The same goes for parents. Keep supporting your LearnServe Fellow, and I hope you will continue to support LearnServe which is also your family.
Next year, I will be headed off to Lafayette College as a Posse Scholar. LearnServe prepared me for the Posse Scholarship Program, which will cover my tuition for the next four years, and offer additional leadership and mentorship opportunities. I am going to miss my LearnServe family as I head off to college, but I know that I am taking with me everything that I learned — and that I will continue to spread the message of leadership, entrepreneurship, and community action on campus. And of course I will come visit when I can!
Thank you, Fellows, for your enthusiasm. Thank you, Ambassadors, for being awesome. And thank you Eric, Scott, Maisha, Jeremy, Shayla, and Sabine for all your support, leadership — and also your awesomeness. Thank you!