LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Our ABC7 Cool Kid for Thursday, Feb. 18, is Sophia Aldecoa, who overcame personal struggles and now devotes her time to helping children with challenges of their own.
She says her reward for helping and volunteering is simple.
"Well, it makes me happy to see that they're happy and that they are where they need to be. So I mean it feels good for me, but I hope it feels better for them, that I was able to be there for them to help them," Aldecoa said.
Aldecoa says part of her motivation to help others comes from a time when she faced her own difficulties.
She had a troublesome home life and moved from place to place. She's faced some obstacles in her young life, but she has not let those tough circumstances stop her.
"It makes me push to be better, push to get into the place that I want to be, because I didn't really want anyone to be like, 'Oh, Sophia, I'm so sorry.' I wanted to do something for myself and I could show that through school and getting myself involved," she said.
Her mentors say Aldecoa has persistence and enthusiasm - qualities that make her shine.
"That confidence, even though you recognize that things aren't going to be easy, that confidence and willing to engage either way - that's absolutely inspiring," said Mark Quintero, a mentor.
"She's determined and she has goals, and she knows what she wants and she goes and she gets it," said Stephanie Rose, another mentor.
Her desire to help people is influencing Aldecoa's career path. She wants to obtain a degree in neuroscience and political science. She has her sights set on medical school and wants to be a neurosurgeon someday.
Cool Kid Sophia Aldecoa has not let the challenges of life get in the way of her goals to improve the lives of those around her.