Meet Jesús Daniel Valerio Méndez, one of our Venezuelan LALíderes, who learned at LALA to live and thrive with people who are different from each other – whom he now considers family
What happens when our passions lead us down uncharted paths in a world that generally dictates that we follow a single path to success? Venezuelan-born Jesús Valerio faced his country’s challenges with extraordinary determination. In his journey, Jesús tells us how LALA influenced his life, transforming it in ways he never imagined.
His story is a testimony of how, despite adversity, he learned to surf the waves of life, finding a unique purpose in uniting his interests and thus contributing to improving the world. From his passion for technology to his love for art, Jesús has always sought a path that embraces all of his facets. His journey towards authenticity and personal fulfillment began in his senior year of high school when he volunteered in ‘Hay más para soñar’ (There’s More to Dream), a project that teaches values and stimulates creativity in children from underprivileged communities.
During his participation in América Solidaria’s program, Plan 12, he discovered the community that would completely change his perspective. A friend who told him passionately about LALA: seeing the love in the pictures she showed him, Jesús decided to apply for the virtual camp. After months of waiting, he finally got in.
At LALA, Jesús met extraordinary people committed to the same purpose of improving and impacting others.
“LALA is amazing, and it’s the community that I don’t have in my city, which has pushed me quite a bit”
He also highlights the opportunities within the community, which is why he always returns to the ecosystem. He strengthened his leadership skills by mentoring fundraising and v-camps and improved his public speaking skills by being an ambassador.
Jesús describes LALA with the word “family”. He experienced the camp more connection with strangers from other countries than with his classmates, whom he has known for more than 12 years.
“It’s amazing to see how we can become such a close-knit group”
After the camp, there was a total change in Jesús. Before LALA, he didn’t understand the differences between people and thought he should spend time only with those similar to him. After LALA, as he got to know the personalities and experiences of young people from all over Latin America, he realized he was wrong. He learned to appreciate the authenticity of people and to be grateful for the opportunity to meet someone so different who can help him open his perspective on unfamiliar issues.
For future Lalíderes, Jesús shares, “Loving what you do is the only thing in life which can take you to places you could never have imagined.”He also stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with people who push you to see your weaknesses as strengths, something unique and fundamental that LALA provides.”You learn to be the best version of yourself.” We admire his great effort to build leaders in her community and appreciate the opportunity to tell his extraordinary story, which inspires many.
This interview was scheduled by Carlos Solarte, written by Massiel Baldeon, and edited by Estefania Lagos. They are part of LALA’s Media Production Voluntary Team.