Each story in the “America’s Next Leaders 2016” special series features a young person who contributes to his or her community and has received a Sargent Shriver Youth Warriors Against Poverty Leadership Award. Each year, Marguerite Casey Foundation, which publishes Equal Voice News, honors young people with this award.
The Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, which works with community organizations in South Texas, nominated Nahiely Garcia, who is featured here, for the award. Here is a summary of her community contributions:
Nahiely is a youth volunteer with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and the founder of the anti-crime campaign Strides for Fany. After the murder of her sister, Stephanie “Fany” Gonzalez, Nahiely launched a campaign to reduce criminal activity in her neighborhood of Colonia San Cristobal.
She helped to implement a neighborhood watch program, created an annual neighborhood beautification project, “Pintado Sonrisas/Painting Smiles,” and helped organize house meetings. She is also in her third year of college, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, with a minor in Mexican-American Studies, from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley.