Five years ago, I met a girl whose confidence, passion, and fearlessness inspired me. On a three-week volunteer trip to Tanzania we shared, she always had a camera in her hand and a grin on her face. I remember going on a chilly early morning hike with her one day before the sun rose. We talked about our lives and all the places we’d like to travel while trekking the still, quiet darkness of the village roads. Her name was Ally. Things have changed a lot since then, and despite only having had 3 weeks to get to know Ally, I can truly say she is one of the brightest and most inspiring young women I ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I, like all Live Like Ally recipients, want to bring more goodness to the world. My name is Kristine Carlos. I am 21 years old and a senior at the University of Central Florida. I am studying anthropology, with a focus on cultural anthropology and religion. There has never been a time in my life where I have not been fascinated by culture. I work for a non-profit organization called Valencia Promise that helps young people in Orlando discover their dream of going to college by assigning them mentors, providing them workshops on life skills, and awarding them with a college scholarship when they graduate high school.  I get the opportunity to help people every day who are making big decisions about their future.  I believe that education and community resources are so important to the development of a confident and well-rounded individual. I am hoping that, through Cross Cultural Solutions, I will have the opportunity to work with people in Dharamsala who want to empower themselves through education and community involvement.

I strive to keep busy and give back to my community as much as I can. While working full-time and going to school, I manage to find time to feed the homeless of Orlando and volunteer for our local community theater. I like to keep myself busy, and I am always up to the challenge when it comes to helping other people and learning about life through the stories of others. As of now, I am an active applicant to become a Peace Corps volunteer next July 2018. I am the kind of person who wants to dedicate my life to learning about others and helping them become the best they can be.

I am thankful every day for this amazing opportunity to further my aspirations. Thank you LLA for keeping Ally’s spirit alive in all of us. Thank you for believing in us volunteers and our dreams to be the leaders of change.

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