Cool Kid Vanessa Castellanos guides teens

LOS ANGELES "Sex is something a lot of parents tend to not talk about. I would have to say sex and not knowing about STDs ... that's why they're not aware of it ... because parents don't speak about it," says Vanessa.

Besides sexual health, domestic violence is a concern to females in the South Central L.A. neighborhood where Vanessa works. In the "Girl2Girl" program, Vanessa has established an important connection with young women in the area.

"I work mainly in Watts and South Central. Coming to an area like that, they feel like, 'She's a girl like me and she's so passionate about these things.' They pay attention to me," says Vanessa.

These sensitive subjects require a unique personality. Many see Vanessa as exactly what is needed.

"You could tell from the beginning - when she walked in the door - that she was one that was not afraid to go out there and speak to what's actually happening in the community," says Martha Chono-Helsley, Executive Director, REACH LA.

As involved as she is now, Vanessa is planning a future that will offer so much more.

"I was thinking of being a lawyer and work with teens in juvenile detention center. And not only being a lawyer for them, I also want them to come to me as a friend or a mentor," says Vanessa.

Sometimes a teen's life can be frightening and confusing. However, Vanessa Castellanos is bringing enlightenment and a warm heart to those who need it.

Know a deserving young adult who should be one of the ABC7 Cool Kids? Share their story and nominate someone today.

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