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By: Dinahlee Pena

This summer I have had the opportunity to be part of the SYEP program at Dominicanos USA. On August 1st we visited the Manhattan Borough president’s office. Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla welcomed us and gave us a tour of the office. One of the very first things that stood out to me was the diversity of the team at the Manhattan Borough President’s office. The atmosphere gave us all a sense of both hope and inspiration for the future. Mr. Bonilla educated us on the importance of community, civic engagement and political involvement, all of which are part of DUSA’s mission.

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Not only were we able to engage with an influential Dominican-American like Mr. Bonilla, but we also learned about ways to play a more active role in the community. For example, anyone can apply to become a community board member at just 16 years of age. In other words, even if an individual is not allowed to vote due to their young age, they are still able to influence community decisions by becoming a community board member. Furthermore, Mr. Bonilla stressed the importance of giving back to the community. This helped me realize that as the future voices of our community, we must remember to strive for success but never forget the needs of the community that saw us grow.

** This is a guest post by one of our Young Voices participants. Dinahlee Pena is a student at Hunter College studying English and Geography.**

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