Most teenagers spend their free time, especially winter break, committed to either sports or personal activities. However this senior prefers to spend her time helping her community and even building an orphanage.

Valeria Bocanegra, of Cleveland High School, sat down for an interview with me to discuss her background and associations regarding community volunteer work.

Alvarado: When did you decide to start working towards building an orphanage, and why?

Bocanegra: I found it working through a club that mainly gives back to the community, and they arranged a trip to Guadalupe, Mexico, where our project was building an orphanage.

Alvarado: Describe what the Tapestries of Life company is all about and its goals.

Bocanegra: Tapestries of Life is a Christian organization, our main goal for a long time was really just building this orphanage and helping out in any way possible.

Alvarado: Describe your background and upbringing and how it’s affected your daily decisions.

Bocanegra: I think going through these trips and events has shaped me more than anything. Seeing extreme poverty and realizing how great I actually have it compared to some was an unforgettable experience.

Alvarado: What motivates you to continue to help your community and do the things you do?

Bocanegra: The biggest thing for me is taking responsibility in every way of our lives. If everyone in the world can take responsibility for not only themselves but for the world around them great things and great change can happen.

Alvarado: Describe the work you accomplished in India over winter break.

Bocanegra: It was with a volunteer non-profit organization, with numerous things in the community that could be done to help out. My favorite was tree care; being in nature was a great thing to experience.