Power of ONE: A teen finds her purpose

At CI, we rely on a team of amazing individuals working together to break the cycle of poverty for our kids across the globe. Each person is making a difference! To celebrate our awesome team members, we’ll be featuring a kid, teen, staff member, supporter or volunteer every Monday through our Power of ONE profile series. Check back every week to meet someone new!

Sherlene (17) used to feel that she lacked purpose in life. Nothing made sense to her. She had no dreams. One day, in her junior year in high school, however, she made the choice to say a simple, “Yes.” Now, she is unstoppable.

No direction in life

Bullying by other kids during her childhood instilled a fear of not fitting in throughout Sherlene’s teen years. “I was usually afraid to go out,” she shares. “I was shy.”

But her life turned around when a sponsored friend encouraged her to come out of hiding. He convinced her to join a teen program at her local CI community center in Quezon City, Philippines.

“I went to the activity room and took a seat,” Sherlene says. “When I started learning about the Youth Health Corps (YHC), when I found out the things we were going to do together, when I heard there was an opportunity to teach, I could not understand how I felt — I was nervous but, at the same time, I was thrilled!”

When the program facilitator called her to the front to speak, she says, “I felt excitement, and my fear vanished when [the group] listened to me.”

Sherlene credits the YHC program for helping her realize exactly what she’s capable of. (Spoiler alert: A lot!) “I learned what I wanted to achieve in life, what my passion is, what my limitations are,” she explains.

17-year-old Sherlene smiles proudly in Quezon City, Philippines.

Sherlene (17) credits CI’s Youth Health Corps for getting her life back on track.

Her future’s lookin’ bright

Thanks to this incredible change in attitude, Sherlene began receiving awards in school and finishing at the top of her class. She’s currently running for a leadership position within the CI Youth Council. She says she never would have done so well had she not gotten involved with CI. “I can’t help but wonder what I would have been if I did not make a change,” Sherlene says. “Some of my old friends got pregnant early. It’s hard to imagine myself being in a situation different from where I am now.”

Sherlene has big plans for her future. She is studying marketing in hopes of fulfilling her dream of owning a resort one day and supporting her family.

“Experience is what Children International really gave me — an experience of life.

“Since I changed, I no longer feel afraid to accept challenges,” she explains. “I have replaced ‘problem’ with ‘challenge.’ Life will always be full of challenges. I no longer worry about outcomes as long as I know I gave my best. I no longer want to go back to my dark past now that my life finally has color.”

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