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Community Connections: Meet Martin R.

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What object connects you to your community? We asked this question to the Youth Voices students at South El Monte High School at the end of our first meeting, and requested that they bring this object to our next class. These objects, along with their explanations, offer physical evidence of the personal link the students have with their neighborhood, and served as their point of departure for their Youth Voices Project: their experience, memories, and personal understanding of their community. To see more of the students' work click HERE or use #kcetyv on Twitter and Instagram.

My name is Martin R., I'm in 11th grade and I attend South El Monte High School. My school community is very friendly and full of school spirit -- for example, during our blue and gold rally everyone participated by wearing their class colors and cheering and making the even more exciting. I feel our school is like a second home to me because I get to learn many things and socialize with my friends. The most important thing to know about me is I believe in the four main pillars which commitment, sacrifice, discipline, and hard work which I learn through high school football and I've been playing football since I was in the 9th grade.

My football helmet is a sacred part of my identity that symbolizes many things in my life. Although many people might think it's a meaningless object, its not because it represents my awakening from depression and it's changed my life in a positive way. It has taught me to trust in my teammates and to fight with sweat and tear and that together we could to over come any obstacle. My helmet is thick and protects me from getting hurt during football. It has two large decal eagle wings at each side with colors gold, blue, and white. It feels very ruff and scratchy like a rock from all the collisions. It is very heavy, but adjustable to my head. It smells really disgusting to other people, but for me it's the scent of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and discipline. My helmet can be found on my head most Friday's at our night light games. It connects me to my community and creates a family bond between my teammates and fans.

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