“Peace” of Mind
First off, Alina and I would like to thank you for all of your support through this adventure. Secondly, we could not have come as far as we have without each and every one of your support. From family and friends, to teacher mentors such as Patricia Guevara, Nancy Fohner, and Gayle DeLuca- and post secondary mentors such as Marie Wolbach and AAUW Ladies, Julie Rodriguez, Pattie Cortese, and community organizers; this experience has been a roller coaster of learning, excitement, and life lessons. It is one that Alina and I will cherish.
From day one, we realized that with great honor, comes great responsibly. For us, it was $15,000 of great responsibility. We knew from the start it was a stretch, but enthusiastic and hopeful, we took action. We set up a blog, sent letters to companies, and spread the word via social medias such as tumblr, facebook and twitter. We also used email and products such as wristbands, to spread the word of peace and non-violence. Also, thanks to our Girls Achieving in Non-Traditional Subjects (GAINS) Coordinator, Tabitha Kappler-Hurley, word about our mission was shared via local Santa Clara newspaper, The Santa Clara Weekly. It was also shared within the Santa Clara Unified School District Community Outlook Newsletter. We were able to raise nearly $1,000 in two months, however that was nowhere near the amount due.
Unfortunately, due to many obstacles, Alina and I have withdrawn from the program. We discovered that donating to our cause was non-tax deductible, which made fundraising, quite difficult. We also learned that many companies and organizations, such as Silicon Valley Education Foundation, only donate to non-profits, which we were not. Other agencies, such as Rotary International, will donate to individual students for college scholarships, but not educational expeditions non-related to Rotary, such as this one. People to People International Scholarships, maximum would help with $1,000. On top of monetary issues, the Hernandez Family was also dealing with severe health issues and other commitments.
Fundraising troubles, paired with family health issues and other school and extra-curricular obligations, made the months of November 2010-January 2011, a challenging time for all.
Some of the many reasons Alina and I chose to participate in this endeavor was to create Peace through Understanding, enhance our educational experiences, and make a positive change in our community. However, due to the time intensive obligations of everything going on, our grades dropped, and we came to some realizations.
We realized that we didn’t have to go all the way to Australia to make a change. Change starts from within. As Gandhi once said, “Be the Change you wish to see in the World.” We have since partnered with the Amanda Network, Breaking Point, and Every 7 Minutes to put a stop to the rampant epidemic of bullying/cyber bullying and teen suicide in schools across the United States.
We are working with Pattie Cortese, one of our amazing supporters, and Michelle Osario, to participate in the First National Pilot Program of Teen Non-Violence Training and Community Organizing Workshops. We are making a positive impact in our schools, right now, today. Alina and I are starting small, making difference in our family, school, and city. Eventually, we will be presented with new opportunities to spread our message further.
When one door closes, another window opens. Although selected as Peace Ambassadors to Sydney, financial obstacles prevented our participation.
We have both been active in many other educational ways. I have been a Stanford University: School or Earth Sciences Research Intern for two years, now. I work with Jennifer Saltzman, and Leonardo Cruz, and study geology and plate movements in the mantle. In December of 2010, I was nominated and accepted for a second time, as a Bright STaRs (Bright Students Training as Research Scientists) Presenter at the American Geophysicist Union Conference in San Francisco. It was held in Moscone Center, and is considered to be one of the largest International Science Conventions in the world. I have since had my scientific research published in an International Geology Science Journal. It is one of my proudest achievements, and I thank them both for all of their support and encouragement.
In November 2010, Alina and I attended Rotary International’s Interact Fall Leadership Conference. We are now fundraising with our school to support our International Project of the year: ShelterBox.
We also presented at the Santa Clara County Women and Girls Summit in San Jose with two more supporters; Marie Wolbach, and Nancy Fohner. We created a Teenage Female Empowerment Public Service Announcement, to promote self confidence and leadership in pre-teen and teenage girls.
Alina has been working on our Non-Violence and Anti-Bullying project. We have been organizing a student group at school, called: Peace of Mind. Alina has been the Publicity Coordinator for this group. She continues to spread the word on causes important to us through her writing. We will be starting a new blog that will embody the projects, ideas, and priority issues that we will explore.
We encourage you to stay updated with out new projects and activism. Our new blog; “A Peace of Mind” will launch on Tuesday March 1st. We will be sure to send the link to you all!
For those who have made monetary contributions, I will contact you individually to coordinate refunds.
Peace & Love,
Mia and Alina Hernandez
P.S. A Peace of Mind will make to Sydney….one day! :)
Our 12 Peace Supporters
Our first peace supporter was Clara Maxwell. With a check of 100 bucks.
Our second peace supporter was Pattie Cortese. From San Jose.
-and Clara from Los Alamitos-
Our third peace supporter was Mr. Hoskins. From Palo Alto.
-Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos-
Our fourth peace supporter was Julie Rodriguez. Washington DC
-Mr. Hoskins, Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos -
Our fifth peace supporter was teacher of the year, Nancy Fohner.
-Julie Rodriguez, Mr. Hoskins, Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos-
Our sixth peace supporter was from NHEC. Our Friend Victor.
-Nancy Fohner, Julie Rodriguez, Mr Hoskins, Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos-
Our seventh peace supporter was Tabitha Kappler Hurley.
- Victor Cruz, teacher of the year, Nancy Fohner, Julie Rodriguez, Mr Hoskins, Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos-
Our eighth peace supporter was Marie Wolbach. AAUW
-Tabitha Kappler Hurley, Victor Cruz, Nancy Fohner, Julie Rodriguez, Mr Hoskins, Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos-
Our ninth peace supporter was Jennifer Saltzman - Stanford advisor.
-Marie AAUW, Tabitha Kappler Hurley, Victor Cruz, Nancy Fohner, Julie Rodriguez, Mr Hoskins, Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos-
Our tenth peace supporter was Ms. Guevara. From Wilcox High School.
-Jenny from Stanford, Marie AAUW, Tabitha Kappler Hurley, Victor Cruz, Nancy Fohner, Julie Rodriguez, Mr Hoskins, Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos
Our eleventh peace supporter was Tech Trek, Susan Wheeler
-Patricia from Wilcox, Jenny from Stanford, Marie AAUW, Tabitha Kappler Hurley, Victor Cruz, Nancy Fohner, Julie Rodriguez, Mr Hoskins, Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos
Our twelfth peace supporter was Marlene Lamb. A dorm mom at Tech Trek.
-Tech Trek’s Susan Wheeler, Patricia from Wilcox, Jenny from Stanford, Marie AAUW, Tabitha Kappler Hurley, Victor Cruz, Nancy Fohner, Julie Rodriguez, Mr Hoskins, Pattie Cortese, and Clara from Los Alamitos-