I don’t know who I am. I know my name is Alexandra Ramirez and I’m a 16-year-old girl, but I don’t know who I am as a person. I don’t know if I matter to anybody or if my life has any meaning. I’m so lost and I always been lost. I’ve been depressed for 4 years, since I’ve been 12 years old. I got abused for most of my life. My father died when I was 12 which left me no where to run to while I was being abused by my mother. I use my life as an excuse for my negative actions. I break down in the smallest conflict. I can’t even take a test without having a panic attack and breaking down in tears. I want to fight everyone because my mother hurt me in the past so I want payback. I have no self-control and resort to drugs as an escape from reality. I hate my body and have a low self esteem, I don’t believe in myself. I’m afraid I’m going to be forced back to my mother and I fear that every day. But that was the old me. This is the new me: I look at myself in the mirror and think I’m beautiful. I accept myself no matter what. I’m confident and I’m fearless and stay strong. I don’t use my life as an excuse for a reason I can’t do things. I’ve dealt with my anger and try not to react as easily to things. I survived the pain of my life and I stand here alive after attempting suicide more than three times over my life. I don’t resort to drugs anymore as a solution, instead I keep myself active when I feel down. I’m a Shortstack model, a program for young girls 15 to 24 to be comfortable with their bodies. In order to accomplish all that I did, I had to get help from somewhere. Even if it was hard I opened up in Council for Unity and put a foot forward and told myself I was going to change for the good. Council for Unity is my family and every person in my class room will be there to help me when I’m breaking down in tears or just need to talk. Mr. K would be there for me whenever I needed him. Council for Unity taught me how to deal with conflict in a positive way from meditation to just having a friend by your side, and having peace and love instead of war or hate. We got to know each and every person in the class I learned to stop judging a book by its cover because everyone has their issues maybe some more than others but still they cause pain in people’s everyday lives. I also learned that the world is always going to be full of hate but you have to look at yourself and take that step on your own and be positive and love people. I learned that in order to stop racism and sexism we have to start with ourselves. We can’t change the whole world but we can change ourselves. I learned to do the right thing when everybody’s telling you to do the negative. I learned that karma is real and if you do good, good will come. If you give positivity, positivity will be returned. It all starts with you and your heart and how you treat others and treat yourself. Council for Unity will change anyone to be a better human being and to do right in this world. You will learn so much from volunteers coming in and expressing their struggles and how they overcame them. People with mental illness people, drug addictions, teenage pregnancies, come share their experiences and that impacts you as a person and makes you change your views in many ways. Council can impact anyone in a positive way. If I never had Council I don’t know where I would be standing right now. I would be the same girl I was in September. I’m happy I found Council and have so many new amazing people in my life that I consider family. I will take everything I learned and Council for Unity and make my life the best I can for myself in the future.