The end to a journey just beginning

PYO teen writer Cindy Chen, during her summer '18 cross-state bike trip. (Photo courtesy of Partners for Youth Opportunity)


 

This is my story of how writing became an escape, rather than a chore, through journaling — and then journalism.

Coming to America with English as my second language I always thought it was the hardest subject to master. Being the quiet shy kid in class, I felt inferior with my English language skills among my native-speaking peers as I struggled with my new language.

But as my vocabulary grew, my confidence grew as well.

Since writing for the Durham VOICE, my desire to improve my writing has become a passion and turned my dreams into fruition. Rather than be just another kid who fell through the cracks, I was able to have my voice heard.

I was able to use the access that the Durham VOICE gave me to be an advocate for the city I call my own. These actions echo as we trailblaze through, leaving behind our footsteps for the next generation. I now write not to improve my English, but to be a VOICE member and community advocate who will be heard.

Article after article, writing becomes a developed skill, just as how any other skill is developed through practice. The fear of sharing my writing has been replaced with the love of sharing my ideas with our local community.

 This newspaper outlet gave me the experience to learn more from our powerful, strong-willed and determined community leaders who have taken it upon themselves to be the standing bulls of the Bull City. They have stirred the melting pot of Durham into a place I’m proud to call home.

My internship for the Durham VOICE ends now that I leave for college this fall. But I have learned that while we can move on and move away, yet a small part of home simply cannot be replaced.

I will keep my eyes open as our growing city will be dominated by new faces and businesses—  Black Wall Street will again prosper as a city that Durham’s youth can hold onto and call our own.

I will continue to walk the American Tobacco Campus that inner-city Durham was founded on to remind myself of how a Lucky Strike fell upon a beautiful city with only ways to grow.

I will be going to Appalachian State University this fall to study communications with a minor in Chinese and Spanish. During my years at App State, I hope to learn about Boone just as I have Durham.

The world will continue to change, and so will we. But I will learn to embrace the changes as they come, never forgetting where I come from.

Cindy Chen is a senior at the Middle College High School at Durham Technical Community College. This year she is serving as a Partners for Youth Opportunity intern with the Durham VOICE.


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