#16 of “23 Stories of Change” for our City Skyline Challenge!
My name is Chunjin Ruan. I’m a sophomore at Galileo High School. I live with my parents and an older brother. We have been in San Francisco for three years. As an immigrant family, we brought a small amount of money and crossed the Pacific Ocean all the way to the United States. My parents barely manage to afford a single-room with neither bathroom nor kitchen. A room with a table, a bunk bed, and a sink became our new home. Living in a small room makes me more eager to go out and see the world.
Youth Leadership Corp is a year-long merit based scholarship program that starts off with a 14-day expedition in the Sierras. The greatest part to me is that it is a precious opportunity to go outside of San Francisco. I had never imagined myself climbing real mountains. I still
remember the most intense day when we were almost trapped half way up a mountain. That morning, we got up earlier than usual, because we were going to the King’s rappel. After a long hike, we reached the top of the mountain and were ready to repel. We couldn’t see the ground from the place where we were standing. My legs were shaking. I wanted to escape, but when I thought of how much I wanted to make the trip, I was determined. When the instructor said it was my turn, I could hear and feel my heartbeat. I held onto the rope and saw the ground was extremely far away. I yelled, “Slower, slower!” But I was the person controlling the speed! Finally, I landed on the ground successfully. My whole body was sweating. I was so proud of my bravery! I did it with my strength, with my beliefs, and with my dreams!
Life is trying; I took the first step out of my comfort zone. Without this precious experience, I wouldn’t have discovered that I could do more than I expected!
You can make an expedition possible for a students to have experiences like Chunjin’s by participating in or donating to the City Skyline Challenge!