Being Part of The Change I Want To See


Rashel Cruz Pena, Journalist & Photographer

Let Our Voices Be Heard

By Rashel Cruz Pena

Young Voices transforms urban youth into powerful advocates who have a voice in every aspect of their lives.

Young Voices is Rhode Island’s only state-wide organization that gives low-income youth the tools to have a voice – to master the skills needed to understand an issue, think strategically, speak articulately, persuasively, and assume roles of leadership.

I joined Young Voices in 2017, my sophomore year. When I went to Young Voices for the first time, I witnessed  a lot of young people  leading the program and talking about the issues in our community. I realized that Young Voices was more than a program and an organization with the mission to empower young people and advocate in their communities.

Over time I was becoming more involved and being part of my community opened up many opportunities for me.  The program has allowed for us to grow as young adults with a purpose. They gave me the opportunity to be a part of  their team, discuss the project of Healthy Relationships in Schools with adults,  and gave us tools on how to  improve the welfare of schools. Being part of a program called the Advanced Course Network (ACN), this very program allowed for  high school students to get college credit while still being in high school. Young Voices opened this door which was a  privilege, and it allowed me to  go to Brown University for two weeks to participate in a program within the Leadership Institute.  I took a course over those two weeks called:  “The Future of Science Technology and Medicine” where I learned about an average lifespan and the advantages of medicine  that enhanced it.

If anyone would like to join Young Voices and take more of an active Leadership role here at JSEC or the community please feel free to speak to me. We need to remember that we can make our ideas and dreams come true, and hard work definetly attributes to real changes in our community.  I am so thankful to be part of this program.


Rashel Cruz Pena