My name is Ana María González; I was born and raised on the island of Puerto Rico. I enjoyed a vibrant childhood filled with the warmth of my tight-knit family and the rich cultural heritage of my homeland. However, everything changed when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, devastating the island, and leaving countless families in disarray. Like many others, my family was forced to relocate to North Carolina for stability and a brighter future.
Adapting to a new environment, I faced many challenges but focused on approaching them with determination and a positive attitude. I graduated from high school in Charlotte and decided to attend East Carolina University to pursue my dream of helping people professionally. During my time at the University, I focused on my Public Health studies, with a community health concentration and a minor in psychology, understanding the significance of promoting well-being within communities. My coursework provided me with a strong foundation of public health principles and a more profound sense of empathy and compassion for the individuals and communities I’ve encountered. My dedication to public health extended beyond the classroom; I actively participated in extracurricular activities and community service projects that allowed me to apply my knowledge and skills to real-world situations. I was involved in Adapted PE, a physical education class for youth with special needs in a local elementary school; I volunteered in Special Olympics and Special Prom and volunteered at the hospital, where I would transport patients where needed. My involvement in initiatives targeting youth development, health education, and community empowerment solidified my passion for making a lasting impact on the lives of others, and I am very excited to apply this in my internship at the 4-H youth development program. As graduation approached, my aspirations became clearer than ever. I wish to combine my expertise in public health with my desire to support and uplift the lives of young individuals and create a positive change that I can achieve now by working directly with the students in the program. I want to leverage my knowledge of community health to educate, empower and inspire young minds equipping them with the tools to navigate life challenges and realize their full potential.
In the future, I wish to expand my skills and knowledge by pursuing a career in occupational therapy. Occupational therapy would provide me with a holistic approach to therapeutic health and Wellness, enabling me to make an even greater impact on the lives of individuals. My ultimate goal is to apply to an occupational therapy school in South Florida, specifically Florida International University. I am drawn to the region’s vibrant and diverse population, which would allow me to work with individuals from various backgrounds and cultures.
Even in my earliest memories, when people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, my answer was always the same; I wanted to help and serve others. My journey from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to completing my bachelor’s degree at East Carolina University has further motivated me to achieve my goal. With my dedication to public health and passion for youth development, I aspire to leave a lasting mark on students’ lives in the 4-H youth development program.
Written by: Ana María González
Ana joins the team to support the 4-H Healthy Habits, a grant via National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation.