While I was in college, I spent a decade of my life working for the Upward Bound program (a federal program that helps at-risk, low-income youth get to college through academic prep and a residential experience). Having been a recipient of services growing up, the program changed my life in a way that many people do not get to experience. I feel incredibly privileged to have had the experience. I would not be the person I am today without it (and likely would never have made it past many of my other hurdles in life to arrive at the hurdle of losing weight). After I graduated high school, I went on to work for the program for a decade, working with youth who were struggling with the typical teenage issues along with those that come from living in poverty. It was the most rewarding and transcending thing that I have ever done with my life (the next being my weight loss). To be able to give back to something that gave me so much is a beautiful experience. Although I no longer work there, helping others has always been in my blood. In many ways, that is what this entire project is about, about giving back, about using my failures and successes to inspire others to know that they, too, can make incredible changes in their lives. I’ve had major hurdles, along with many little ones, that I have overcome in my life, and if my experiences can spark some inspiration for someone else, I believe that it makes the struggles worth the fight. So, I hope that this project has been even a shard of a spark in your life. I hope you all share your own stories and your own transformations with the world as well because we learn best from each other, and that is all I want.
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