Valentina Orejarena, one of this year's Blogger Fellows, gets real about the 2017 Social Good Summit and shares some of her revelations with us.
Young adults my age are usually fan-girling about many different superficial things, but I have raving about the opportunity I had to be part of this year’s UNA-USA Social Good Summit Blogger Fellowship. This opportunity enabled me to go to the Social Good Summit in New York City and I also attended some panels from General Assembly week on my own. Coming from a small town in New Jersey, I never got to be in a room with so many progressive, intelligent, and goal-oriented people. These people, whom I got to observe and meet, are out making a real positive difference in our seemingly insane world. My goals for being part of the United Nations aren't completely made up yet, but I’m working on it, therefore being in such a unique setting inspired and motivated me so much.
I’m not going to lie, I felt so ‘small’ at the Summit. I asked myself, “Who even am I? What am I doing compared to young adults and these great organizations.” I’m a bit of an awkward person, so going into a place like this where you’re supposed to network, interview, and learn from others was nerve-wracking for me. While at the Summit, I witnessed sixteen to eighteen-year-
olds interviewing these famous and ground-breaking people and then there was I, eating away at the unlimited amount of snacks and trying to get hyped up on coffee.
But a second later after this observation, I collected myself myself, and reassured myself that I was there for a reason. I was there to educate myself and to learn how to make a difference. There are people around this world that do not get this chance but wish they did. I had to do it for them and I had to encourage every bright, capable mind around me to do so as well. The Social Good Summit focused on how we all can use technology to help achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and other major issues around the globe. I’ve been inspired to become more active on social media to get my message across. (And obviously enjoy the quality memes.)
As I was growing up, I didn’t have much concern for the future or for issues affecting innocent humans. A lot of the people around me simply thought about themselves and the moment they live in. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to worry about yourself, but many fail to realize that WE are what shapes the future: a future that affects all of us because we inhabit this beautiful planet. We will govern these countries, need to interact together, and compromise in order to co-exist peacefully. We must worry about the type of world that our children, children's children, and many others we care about will live in. Can we imagine a world without some NATURAL fruits, vegetables, or grains because we’ve damaged our crops to the point of non-existence? Can we imagine a world in which animals have gone extinct because they can no longer survive? How about a world where we are governed by some evil dictatorship because young minds failed to educate themselves to recognize lies when we hear them?
If I had to point out the biggest realization I made during the Summit, it is that every little thing counts. The inspiring people at the Summit made something of themselves because of the sweat and effort they put in towards the greater good of people. If everyone remained intimidated and discouraged because there were bigger names out there than their own, there would be no 17 SDGs, no NGOs, no technology, no progress in our world. So, here am I, telling you, to DO SOMETHING. Don't worry how big or how small it is, just do it. Educate yourself for your own good, and for the good of the future world that we all live on for some quite time.