Araceli Castaneda was chosen to be part of Beauty Revived Magazine Seniors edition. She is one of 50 seniors from around the country chosen to tell her story and she is absolutely inspirational. E Cubed Photography teamed up with Ambar Hernandez who donated Hair and Makeup and the fabulous boutique Casa de Jacinthe Boutique provided the gorgeous styling and outfits.
Where you come from does not determine where you will go. It only changes what you have to do to get there. I have walked the cold night streets alone, but I do not walk with fear. I do not know what lies in the future but I do know that no matter what comes my way I will not just survive; I will thrive. I have not been dealt easy cards but I also do not believe in excuses. My parents may have not been perfect but no one is. My biological parents may not have been around for most of my life, but it takes a village to raise a child. I was chosen for this because those around me have seen me struggle and they felt that my story should be shared, but the truth is that everyone struggles. Everyone can have a sad backstory where they were abandoned after mom lost them in court because she wouldn’t let go of a man other than dad. That sad backstory where the water and electricity got cut off in the summer; where mom took off to a bar right before a storm and the little kid got welts from being outside in the hail trying to close the window; where the girl thinks she won’t make it past the age of 13; and where dad is only home to discipline.
I have all of those stories, however they wont help anyone. In order to make this world a place that future generations would want to live in, everyone must strive to change the world, even one life at a time. If I make the world a little better for one person with each of my actions, I can die knowing my purpose was fulfilled. It seems to be an incredible thing when a kid with a heavy cross does good things. But that “incredible” person is not me, I simply like to help people. I like to be involved in everything. I was raised where the adults sit and children stand, you don’t interrupt, the answer is, “yes sir” or “yes ma’am”, you go to church on Sunday and only accept the things earned by your own sweat. It remains true, if God brings me to it he’ll get me through it. The way I grew up and the village that raised me has definitely contributed to the way I am. In one world I teach catechism to seventh graders, I am in the top five GPA of my class, and I turned an idea to a 3 person team, then to a sixty member club that has raised over $5,000 to feed children from a mission in La Morita, Mexico. In the other world I mow lawns to help pay the water bill and look gaze at the night stars contemplating the beauty of God’s creation. But in both worlds I have the same heart, mind, and soul. For all of this, the majority of my family is not blood. And for all of them, I am who I am today. And for all of that, I am able to teach children, guide my peers, start a small charity, and live to my fullest potential no matter what tries to stand in the way.