People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.” –Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Hi! My name is Carla Rodriguez and I’m from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Art has always been a part of my life. As far back as I can remember, I was taking some sort of dance class or going to see a show, from ballet to bomba, my family worked hard to expose me to as many forms of art as possible.
Reflecting on it, it was probably these experiences that inspired me to get my Bachelor’s degree in Family, Youth, & Community Science with minors in Dance & Education.
One weekend early this year, I was fortunate enough to reconnect with my friend Anthony Martinez who I have known since Kindergarten. He didn’t know it at the time but he was the catalyst for so much inspiration to come. As we were catching up on the past few years, I told him about my move and the feeling I had. He posed a seemingly simple question to me, “If you could have your dream job, what would it be and why?
The question caught me totally off guard. It made me have to stop and think. What was my dream? What job could I do that didn’t feel like work? What was I passionate about? What made me feel most alive and fulfilled? I had a feeling that if I could answer these questions, I’d be closer to being able to answer his question. All I could come up with at the moment was something with young people, the arts and maybe an after school program. Since he’s known me my whole life, he knew exactly what to say.
He was already involved with R.Evolución Latina and began telling me about all the wonderful programs and people. He made sure to emphasize all the great youth programs and told me I had to get involved. This all happened right before the Choreographer’s Festival. I was able to follow all the amazing things that came along with that project and was instantly inspired. “Uniting people through the universal language of dance”?! I had to be a part of such an amazing organization.
When time came for the Dare to Go Beyond Camp, I immediately reached out to Denisse who was gracious enough to welcome me with open arms. As people who value the arts, my job was supportive and let me take the week off from work. Little did I know how much of an impact the experience would have on me. From the campers, to the volunteers, teachers, and directors, I feel like each person inspired me in one way or another: campers who would spend their free time practicing what they had just learned; older campers setting a positive example for younger campers and vice versa; volunteers who took days or hours out specifically to lend a hand; teachers who lent their artistry; and directors who pulled it all together. When that much positive energy is in one space, how can you not feel inspired?
Those young people breathed new life into my spirit. Ideas that seem so complicated to adults were simplified
by the genuine curiosity of a child.
This camp allowed many children to experience the arts in a way they couldn’t have otherwise. It reaffirmed in me what I want to do in my life that will always give me energy. All of my experiences in the past year, challenges & triumphs alike have one thing in common. They have opened my mind to the immense possibilities of life. These possibilities were always there but the people and lessons along the way have allowed me to see them more clearly. My awareness has been heightened and I would not go back. As I continue into the unknowns of each day, I take with me the spirit of the camp pledge, commit, respect, believe, support yourself and each other, and of course, Dare to Go Beyond!
“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” –Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist