Le Flambeau Foundation Inc, April 2015
Everything we do makes a difference. We each have the incredible power to be a change agent for humanity and it is our choice as to how we apply this gift. We believe that we each have the inclination to use this power for good – we need only take action and do it.
In 2009 we met a remarkable young person who took action and became a founding youth member of THE SPARK of Le Flambeau, an English learning program based on language and cultural exchange between youth in Haiti and in the U.S. She served as the youth leader who spearheaded bringing the program to life for young people in the U.S. at Coral Reef Senior High School and in doing so changed the lives of young people in Haiti for the better.
Her accomplishments took on additional significance as the earthquake of 2010 escalated the need for the connection and inspirational support provided to young people in Haiti by the program. Her name is Angie Llanos and we are forever grateful for her contributions as a change agent – past and future. Angie has since graduated from high school and moved forward. Following is a recent interview we did with Angie.
Please tell us about your experiences and steps forward since you completed high school and your last year as student leader of THE SPARK of Le Flambeau?
Since graduating from high school at Coral Reef Senior High, I attended the University of Florida and earned a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition, with a specialization in Nutritional Sciences in May 2014. Currently, I am a first year in the Doctorate in Pharmacy (PharmD) program at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy in Chapel Hill, NC.
Are there achievements since high school that you are particularly proud of and can share with us?
During my undergraduate years at UF, I participated in community service projects such as teaching at an elementary afterschool program, helping clean up the community, and fundraising for a couple of nonprofit organizations. Currently, my community involvement revolves around health care, such as providing free health screenings and volunteering at a free clinic on my spare time.
One of my more impactful service experiences, however, was going to the Philippines in the summer of 2014. During this experience, I volunteered at a town that was heavily affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the country in November 2013. I worked with many of the locals to beautify an isolated elementary school and plant mangroves, which increase diversity and protect the shore from storms. It was an incredibly humbling experience and showed me that despite the adversities they may face, the spirit of the Filipino people is still alive and thriving.
I relate this spirit to the resilience and determination that I witnessed from my encounters and conversations with the Le Flambeau scholars, particularly after the 2010 Earthquake. I see in them a great deal of passion to give back and improve Haiti and the world.
You significantly impacted the lives of youth in Haiti through your work with THE SPARK of Le Flambeau. Is there anyone in your life that you feel made a difference in how you’ve chosen to impact others? If so, what did they do that impacted you so?
One of my biggest influences is my late maternal grandfather, who taught me that importance of giving back to the community. My grandfather came from modest means but did not hesitate to help those in need. He showed me that regardless of what little you may have, there is always something that you can give to others. I hope to emulate his example and give what I can to continue to serve the community.
What difference do you most want to bring to the lives of those you work with? Why?
I hope to bring positive energy to those around me. Sometimes, you don’t really know a person’s struggle, and small gestures such as a smile or a hug can make a difference in someone’s day.
During your time as student leader for THE SPARK of Le Flambeau program you connected with Ruchama, a student member living in Haiti who later traveled from Haiti and visited with you and your classmates at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami. Ruchama is now completing her third year of college in the U.S. with a double major in Accounting and Music. Your role was an important one in bringing this about. What do you remember most about that experience? What did you learn? Do you have any words of reflection or wisdom you wish to share with Ruchama?
My first encounter with Ruchama and subsequent communication with her have certainly been impactful. One of the things I remember is how talented she is with playing the violin! I’m glad that she pursued Music in college, in addition to Accounting. Although it has been a while, in a way, she inspired me to pursue my passions and be diligent in that pursuit. I hope that she continues to inspire others as she has with me.
As you look to the future what do you see as the top three challenges we face as a global community? Which, if any, do you see yourself playing a role in as you aim to be a positive change agent?
I would say the top three challenges are resolving global conflicts, reducing poverty, and increasing access to and improving health care. Of these, the issue I see myself making the most impact in is improving health care, though I will probably primarily play a role on the local level. As a future pharmacist and one of the most accessible members of the health care team, I hope to play a role in educating the community about their health and providing more affordable options for medications. Additionally, I hope to advocate for the expansion of pharmacist roles in the future, as I believe this will optimize patient care and improve health outcomes overall
What is your vision for your future? Is giving back to community and passing the torch forward a part of this vision? If so, what role do you expect to play?
I hope to impact others and the community as a healthcare provider. Although I do not have definite plans on which area of pharmacy practice I would like to pursue, I certainly plan to continue to give back. I still have more than three years left in my program, but I am considering possibly working in a medically underserved area after I graduate, if the opportunity presents itself.
What bit of advice do you wish to offer to the youth of THE SPARK of Le Flambeau?…to our youth overall?
As cliché as this may be, I will quote one of the most well known quotes from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s never too late or too early start, regardless of how small that change may be. You may face many challenges, but as long as you are steadfast and passionate about what you are doing, you will end up where you are meant to be. The future is bright!
Closing Remarks: Thank you once again for the opportunity! Please keep in touch and let me know if there is anything else I can do!
To read about the winners of Fall 2012 (click here)
To read about the winners of Fall 2013 (click here)
To read about the winners of Spring 2014 (click here)