Samira Amin: Presentations of Impact 2020

Samira Amin: Presentations of Impact 2020

How many times a day do you find yourself questioning life as it happens in front of you? Are you thinking something like, “Wow, what did I do to deserve this?” or is it more like, “Ugh, what did I do to deserve this?”

I’ll tell you the truth: for me, it was the 2nd way. A LOT. Like, a lot a lot.

I thought my second year of Public Allies was gonna be a little easier to manage. It wasn’t. I was still anxious, stressed to the max, and feeling so out of place at times. I felt like things were going nowhere, and almost like I was letting myself down. Why did no-one ever tell me that teen angst never really goes away? All it did was evolve into this weird place in my life known as my 20s.

The fantasy of how I wanted things to go was getting crushed by these new challenges. But you never know how far life will get you, just by making it through each day.

Now that this two year chapter in my life is coming to an end, I’m glad I was challenged. I just wish I would’ve taken things day by day. Not every day has to be a success, wouldn’t that just get repetitive and boring?

I left Buffalo to get away from repetitive and boring! You know, by moving across the country to a state I’ve never been to, filled with people I never met.

Now I can say that I got to be in the presence of some of the most influential individuals, including Michelle Obama, Condaleeza Rice, our CEO of Public Allies, Jaime Uzeta, and most importantly, my Allies.

And now, I can say I was directly involved in creating a just & equitable society. This year, it was with a team of some of the most competent women I’ll ever get to work with. Thanks to their hard work, The Thunderbirds will give back $14 million to the community this year, so our wonderful organizations in the valley can build out their missions.

My favorite memory with my organization was when The Thunderbirds were invited to play a game of basketball, with members of the Boys & Girls Club of East Valley Guadalupe Branch, also known as Thunderbirds Branch. I was on the sidelines with some of The Thunderbirds and members of the organization, and while it was a fun game to watch, I remember focusing more on the kids' reactions as they were cheering in the bleachers.

At one point, this kid walked in, who appeared to be in his teens. All of the sudden, a bunch of little kids, with their faces lit up, ran over to give him a hug. They were so happy to see him, and it warmed my heart. That moment reminded me why it’s important to keep supporting organizations like the Boys & Girls Club, so community members can have the space to make these connections, which is just one element in the tool box that can lead to improving quality of life in communities.

I believe every one of you watching this is capable of overcoming whatever hardships are in your life right now. Accept the challenges and the things that frustrate you, because they force you to head in a better direction. If you told me a few years ago that I’d have so much to be ‘proud of, and so much to brag about, I wouldn’t know whether to hug you or to hit you!

I realized my measure of success comes not from what I did but from who I am now.

I am confident. I am resilient. I am thankful. And I am happy.

Going after new opportunities and opening up to experiences, good and bad, became part of who I am, thanks to Public Allies. I also realized I’m used to being scared. Because being scared is easy, getting through the situation isn’t. But I’ve learned that tough situations will get me further than if I never took the opportunity at all!

Life is a big experience, holding many joys. It's funny where we find ourselves with trial & error, and what moments become valuable as our lives go on. I still have a ways to go, and a lot to overcome. I wouldn’t have made it this far without the support from others, the opportunities that came my way, and making it through each day, not realizing that even the worst days would contribute to my growth that is recognized today.