Cool Kid Andrew Olmeda gives back to organization that shaped his life

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Andrew Olmeda is a volunteer at the Mar Vista Family Center, an organization that offers after school activities for hundreds of students. (KABC)

Andrew Olmeda is a volunteer at the Mar Vista Family Center, an organization that offers after school activities for hundreds of students.

Olmeda began attending when he was a toddler.

"I was able to see how a lot of the counselors here, a lot of volunteers, also the staff, they never give up on their students here," Olmeda said.

His experience was starkly different than the reality his older brothers lived.

"They were the product of the streets. Basically they both indulged into gang activity, drug abuse," he said.

The now 18-year-old was once ashamed to share the struggles he and his family faced.

"I was just a kid growing up in a one-bedroom house with six people living inside of it," he said. "Sometimes I'd go to sleep really cold because we didn't have enough blankets in the house."

But today, he talks about his story with humility and hope, sometimes sharing it on a stage as a way to raise money for the organization that helped him.

Olmeda plays baseball, and serves as a tour guide and mentor for incoming freshmen at his school, Culver City High School. He even worked up the courage to lead the "By Youth For Youth" group at Mar Vista.

"I never thought I could run for a president position in anything," Olmeda said. "At least to my brothers, I want to show them that if I can do it, they can do it."

"I have known Andrew since he was three-years-old and it's been really a privilege to see during the years the changes that have happened in his life," said Lucia Diaz, CEO of the Mar Vista Family Center.

Olmeda will be the first in his family to graduate high school and go to college. He will soon major in political science and minor in Chicano studies at the University of California, Merced.
Related Topics:
educationhigh schoolvolunteerismschoolLos Angeles County
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