All her life, Raquel has been inspired and motivated to make a difference. Her story of giving back follows a line of passionate, change-making women. Her mother [MOU1] first ENGAGED Raquel in opportunities to make a difference in her community in New York, just as she had learned to do from her own mother. “We always say how it’s just in our genes to be charitable,” says Raquel.
Describing herself as a “purposeful” person—even as a child someone with “a special kind of passion and a very specific drive”—Raquel says she was sometimes called a dreamer. But through Roots & Shoots, she realized she wasn’t alone in her passion for driving change. What some might call a dream, her peers in Roots & Shoots would call a goal worth working toward. When Raquel discovered the program, “the puzzle piece came into play, the light bulb went on.”
“Through Roots & Shoots I have made lifelong friends,” she says. “We all come from very different backgrounds, we’re all different races, all have different upbringings. If it wasn’t for Roots & Shoots, we wouldn’t have been friends. Our paths wouldn’t have crossed otherwise.”
What unites these young leaders is passion: “We all have that fire burning in our heart that keeps us connected more than any other type of friend. It really built an everlasting connection between some genuine people and me.”