I have never admired the question: “what do you want to be when you grow up” or “what do you want to do when you grow up?” However, the question that has given me the most awakening, sensational feeling is simply:”what do you want to change?”

Living in the deep, vibrant, and wild Mojave Desert of Southern California is definitely a dreamer’s oasis. The queer shaped joshua trees casually walking through the desert are a constant reminder of my identity. Yes, heat is ever abundant, and rattlesnakes are many, but the atmosphere is ever-changing, and ever-unique. Little did I know that the many culturally diverse people I would meet could shape me into the open-minded person that I have become. Like many of the Live Like Ally recipients, I want to plant seeds into the souls of others. I believe that one small impact, with enough hope, will become a ripple, and spark others to ignite the world.

Ally once wrote: “… I read a quote in a cafe that said, ‘I have to be young and stupid before I become old and wise.’ I sometimes get too caught up in growing as a person, being stupid is important to…” Ally lived a incredible life. I came across her story after endlessly googling accounts of people traveling abroad. After reading Ally’s bold journal entry of hitchhiking in New Zealand, I couldn’t help but connect with her story.

Through the generosity of the Live Like Ally Foundation, I am finally able to further develop what gives my life meaning: serving others. In Ally’s memory, I will be embarking to Greece as a volunteer for Syrian refugees. I am deeply appreciative of my family, my teachers, and for the opportunity to be adopted into the Live Like Ally Family. I only hope I can aspire to be half the person Ally is and will always be.

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