Jarilies K. Acevedo

Being the first granddaughter and niece of the family – and the eldest of three sisters – Jarilies K. Acevedo Suarez understood from an early age the importance of being a role model. The Club helped her develop the leadership that would lead her to inspire and motivate others. “It has opened doors to new opportunities and new horizons that challenge me and promote me as a leader of change. For example, I have had the opportunity to be a spokesperson for Puerto Rican youth in local and international forums, which has motivated me to propose many goals”, says the eleventh-grade student and first Youth of the Year of the Bayamón Club.

Jarilies has participated twice in the Leadership Summit of Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico (BGCPR), where she has presented community projects with her teammates. In addition, she has witnessed the transformative power of education, thus she aspires to be a teacher. She is grateful for the Club that has positively impacted the lives of her two sisters, who are also members of the Club, as well as her mother, who participated in the BGCPR Employability Program.

What obstacle or challenge have you experienced?

“When I was only five years old I moved from the José Celso Barbosa Public Housing located in Bayamón. This was a great challenge for me since in addition to moving, I was not going to live with my dad anymore. During the first few months, I felt very strange because I went from a noisy Public Housing to a new place where there was only silence. Besides that, I left my childhood friends with whom I shared daily after school. Another factor was the change of school. Although this change was in second grade, the process took several years after the move.

On the other hand, my parent’s separation affected me a lot, but I was able to overcome it in a short time since I never lost communication with him. When I stayed in my previous school, I had to walk every day to my new house. Honestly it wasn’t easy, sometimes people gave us a ride, but sometimes we didn’t have that privilege. When we had to walk, my mother took our backpacks, we stopped to take a break and the next day the same. While we were walking we talked about our day and so on.

With all this, I learned that I have to adapt to the changes and that sometimes it is necessary to lose people of your life so that others arrive”.

What characteristics a leader must have?

“A leader is an empathic, kind, responsible and respectful person. Likes to help and is very supportive of others. ”