Featured Youth: Jennifer Cano

jennifer-cano-leader-in-the-makingLeader in the Making

Sixteen-year-old Jennifer Cano has learned to cope with the struggles of life — not by letting them define her, but by using them as a learning experience. Being a sophomore in high school is stressful all on its own; not having the best relationship with family can only add to the stress. But whatever the frustrations and obstacles thrown her way, Jennifer always manages to carry herself with poise and a maturity level beyond her years. She exhibits all of the characteristics of a true leader: selflessness, good morals, respect for others and confidence.

Jennifer has not always possessed these traits, however. She credits many of them to her participation in the Lakewood YAL program. “I used to be very shy,” she says. “Coming to the YAL has helped me come out of my shell.” The center has provided Jennifer with a place where she can make friends, get help with homework, talk to people, participate in giving back to her community, and challenge herself in ways that will allow her to grow as a leader. Ultimately, the YAL has become like a second home for her. Jennifer is a perfect example of someone who, even if the odds are not always in her favor, is driven to continue pushing forward.