"Marcos has grown as a leader and example in his two years with Hands4Hope," says Lori Whittle, the Hands4Hope Education Program Coordinator who facilitates the on-campus Hands4Hope Club at Markham Middle School. The opportunity to watch participants grow in their abilities to guide peers cooperatively toward a common goal is undoubtedly a real job perk, and the growth shown by Marcos is why he was nominated as this month's Youth Spotlight. Read more to find out his perspective on his experience with Hands4Hope.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, my name is Marcos Cuevas Lopez, and I am an 8th grader. I attend Markham Middle School. I have been involved in Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference for two years. In 7th grade I was Secretary, and in 8th grade I am now Secretary and Vice President. I love doing my job as Secretary and Vice President to this day!
How did you hear about Hands4Hope and what motivated you to join?
In 6th grade I overheard two girls talking about a club that was going on. The next week with no hesitation I walked through the J building door to find an amazing Hands4Hope Club. So I joined. I thought it was just a club, but it was more than that... Hands4Hope isn't just a club; it helps the community and helps the people around you learn about the community. This is what got me motivated to join the club!
How has your experience with Hands4Hope helped you grow?
Hands4Hope shaped me into a better person! When I joined Hands4Hope in 6th grade, I knew less about myself than I do know. When I did leadership training camp there was a side of me that said I was not ready to be a leader. But, I realized when you take a step into something big, you can't give up. Even if someone says you can't do it, even if that person is yourself, tell yourself you can.
In addition to Hands4Hope, I also joined the Builders Club at school. Builders Club is a middle school service club affiliated with Kiwanis Club that learns to work together and develop leadership skills as they serve their school and community. I am a Secretary and a Treasurer for that club. In that club, I have used the techniques I learned through my Hands4Hope Club, For example, soon I will create an attendance sheet for Builders Club and work on finding new ways to upgrade the club.
What has been your favorite moment so far with Hands4Hope?
One favorite memory was when we did Mid Year Leadership Camp in January. I met new people and created traditions with people. For example, I drew a stick figure named Bob and gave it to two people that went to Herbert Green that are in the Hands4Hope Club there. Another favorite memory was during Summer Leadership Camp 2023, when I met my group of Hands4Hope leaders and I got to have so much fun.
What would you tell someone who is considering joining Hands4Hope ? How do you see yourself being involved in the future?
I would tell them to join the Club because I want them to make a difference in our community. And, I would share my experience of being a leader—how it is so much fun and you can make new friends. In my future, I see myself being a leader in high school and working hard in the high school club like I do at Markham.
What other activities do you enjoy?
I love to do sports like football, soccer, basketball, and so much more. I also do Broadcasting Club for Markham Middle School. I love playing video games and hanging out with my friends, family, my dog, and my 3 cats. These are the things that I most enjoy outside of Hands4Hope!