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'Cool Kid' Amy Cardenas helps at-risk kids

October 30, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Amy Cardenas is a "Cool Kid" volunteering in an at-risk neighborhood in Pasadena. She knows there are problems, but she also knows there can be solutions."I want to help make the change. I think that if I do my part and other kids say that, 'If she can do it, I can do it too. I can get involved.' The littlest things you do can help," says Amy.

Amy teams with the STARS program, or Students and Teachers Achieving Real Success. Having grown up and still living in the Pasadena neighborhood, Amy strives to be a good mentor.

"I want to be able to tell this girl right from wrong and help her with life ... all the different issues that I was probably dealing with that maybe she will be dealing with too," says Amy.

A junior at Pasadena High School, Amy has been involved with STARS since second grade. She has always shown signs of a future where she can make a difference in many lives.

"In her communication abilities, her ability to speak in public and her courage and her ability to think critically about big issues," says Mayra Macedo-Nolan, Associate Director, Lake Avenue County Foundation.

Amy helps the children with homework, but feels that other lessons are just as important.

"Respect each other. Don't care about color, don't care about race, don't care about ... he's a guy she's a girl. Don't care, be friends. We need this friendship to build this peace for once," says Amy.

Amy is starting in her own neighborhood, and looking toward positive changes in others. She is our "Cool Kid."


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