Every action taken matters
There are many amazing youth in the Eagle River Valley, however, when I asked for quotes about one in particular, I got a resounding response of his pure character, leadership and amazing potential to achieve great things.
“Kevin Garcia embodies the very essence of the Vail Mountain School student — high character, a leader in community building, an accomplished athlete and young man who is relentless in his pursuit of academic excellence,” responded Michael Imperi, headmaster at VMS.
Not only does Garcia embody these qualities, he is also a very humble and focused youth that has pursued many passions.
Throughout school, Garcia has had many leadership roles including captain for his Vail Valley Soccer Club and the VMS varsity soccer teams, peer leader with SOS Outreach, student council class representative and caring older brother.
Garcia is also a member of his school’s philanthropy service group. This group raises funds through the school store and then hears funding requests from VMS students and approves donations they deem to meet the group’s criteria. Additionally, Garcia is a part of CMC’s Upward Bound — a college readiness program — the VMS telemark ski team and previously participated in the school’s chess club.
The most impressive activity, however, is the time he dedicates to his younger sister to help improve her reading and math.
This past spring, Garcia had the opportunity to travel to China with his school. VMS mandarin teacher Andrew Hustad said, “During the 2016 VMS intra-term trip to China, Kevin’s strong character and steady, humble leadership improved the overall experience for all of his classmates. He was comfortable taking risks, interacting with the locals and never hesitated to step up as a leader when the group needed to make decisions. His classmates know that he can be relied upon to look out and care for those around him, and I have no doubt he will continue to impact everyone around him in the years to come.”
Garcia certainly appreciated this trip, being able to stay with a host family, see how they farm and make a living, and hike a mountain and visit temples along the way. Garcia said he would certainly return here if he could.
Garcia has had some pretty amazing experiences in his lifetime and attributes his successes to the support of his parents and his family. They have made him into a strong person, not necessarily physically but mentally; they have given him drive which has led to his successes.
Family support is the first of the 40 developmental assets identified by the Search Institute that give youth the building blocks for healthy development. Families that provide high levels of love and support through dedicated family time, activities, strong communication and healthy space help young people grow up “healthy, caring and responsible.” Garcia definitely demonstrates these attributes.
“Kevin is dedicated to making a difference across interactions and he does so with a passion to positive impact that’s unique. His demanding schedule includes the community as a core focus. He is a leader across SOS programs and he integrates the SOS core values into all his interactions,” said Seth Ehrlich, SOS Outreach executive director.
‘Be Present in What’s Happening’
Garcia believes it’s important to be selfless and focus on not just being grateful for what you have but to help others the way you’ve been supported. When asked what words of wisdom he would share with his peers, Garcia said, “To really be present in what’s happening. Seniors said that high school was going to go really fast and when you’re stuck on a paper it doesn’t feel like it’s going fast but it will. During these times, be present, reflect on your time at your school and acknowledge the feelings that you had.”
Each year when soccer season is over, it helps Garcia appreciate more how happy it made him feel. To this, he encourages everyone to “savor the moment,” to be truly present as time is fleeting. Garcia hopes to be remembered as someone who is very passionate about life but also wants to help others and be selfless, putting all his effort into the activity that he was doing. There’s no doubt that Garcia will continue stay focused, be a leader and continue to serve others through all his efforts.
To Garcia, leadership is someone or a group that provides structure and organization to help others get to a common goal. The rest of us can certainly learn from Garcia and achieve a greater common good by maintaining focus in seeking service and gratitude in all that we do. Perhaps we can follow his footsteps and dedicate our time to serve others.
This will not only provide them with positive support but can feed our souls as well, help us stay focused and grow into the positive leaders that Garcia certainly has become.
Mikayla Curtis is the manager of strategic impact at the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports collaborative youth prevention programs and services. In addition to supporting the health and well-being of local young people, ERYC offers various levels of parenting education and trainings for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit http://www.eagleyouth.org.