PRHYLI Heads To Albany!

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PRHYLI Heads To Albany!

Yelsy Estrada, Reporter

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Angelo Del Toro once said, “I am my brother’s keeper.” He said this with PRHYLI in his mind. He believed that if he started the Puerto Rican Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute, he could teach others how to watch over and care for fellow human beings. The Puerto Rican Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute is a product of his vision and energy. He captured and inspired the hearts and minds of many young Latinos and Latinas with his ideals and determination. In the Institute, Hispanics learn how to develop leadership skills that’ll help them for a lifetime. They will also get the chance to meet Hispanic elected officials, educators and business leaders that will serve as role models and guide participants to future success. If young Hispanics plan to be in the New York Assembly, they’ll be able to learn about the state legislative process.

The program consists of several phrases. In the first phrase, students meet other kids from varied places in the City of New York. For example, students meet other kids, from not only Brooklyn, but Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. These future leaders identify and research local issues, as well as study the legislative process and focus on selected bills that will be used during phase two. In phase two, only a few selected students are be able to take part in the 3 day program. On the first day, we introduce ourselves to other students that are doing the program, not in just the city ,but statewide. We also get to meet the people that have been running the program after the untimely death of Angelo Del Toro. Students also are able to meet many people who would not have been able to get to where they are now without preservation and determination. This year students were able to meet Wes Moore. Wes Moore is an entrepreneur and combat veteran of Afghanistan. He has written a book called The Other Wes Moore, about a guy that’s also named Wes Moore. This We Moore lived in the same neighborhood in Baltimore and was same age.  That Wes Moore was convicted for murder and sentenced to prison. Wes Moore talked about never giving up and to always doing thing to the best of your capabilities. Many students looked up to him after his speech, because one student said, “I agree with you Mr. Wes Moore, because just like you said, many people have capabilities and not opportunities.  This world is filled with hate and racism that we don’t see what a person has to offer.”

In the second day of the program we went to the NYS Assembly Chamber to debate the given bills from the first phase. After thoroughly debating the 4 bills that were given, we went to the fun part, the celebration. The celebration is for all the students that participated through the entire program- from the first meeting to the mock assembly. During the celebration, awards and scholarships are given. Kevin Lopez from FDR was the only senior to receive a scholarship.

On the last day they met a guest speaker, Dr. Stephen “Bird” Birchak. He went on to say that no matter how different you look from everyone else, you can still reach your dreams if you preserve and don’t flaunt. After the guest speaker was done, the ride home was like a dream.  Literally, since all the students were fast asleep. At the Puerto Rican Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute, or PRHYLI, students came as strangers and left as a family.  Ms. Sanabria stated that,  “Even though I’ve been in this program for 17 years, I’ve always loved how students learned how to develop leadership skills, while also meeting and networking with people from all around the state.”