TOPIC OF THE WEEK: Who in your family inspires you?

Ariday Sued

Me being touched and influenced by people in my life is not too difficult to come by. However, those who have inspired me are special gems that have captured my soul. I know they would never leave my life, regardless of when they came in. I am dedicating this piece to my step dad, Wilber Gonzalez. 

Wilber is a simple man who does very little for himself but will always go out of his way for others. He moved to the United States from Puerto Rico to pursue a better life with no idea about what he was going to confront in addition to the language barrier. Despite those circumstances, he has come a very long way and inspires me. 

Although Wilber is not my biological father, he acts as one. Wilber works a full-time job, ministers a church along with my mother in New Jersey, all while taking care of my baby siblings Sophia and Abiel. He is not only a father figure to me and my siblings, but also to our church congregation. He is highly dependable and often depended on, and despite the stress and trials he may be under, he never leaves anyone behind. Although I am far from home, I know Wilber will always have my back and I am extremely thankful for that.

Pascal Albright

Inspiration comes in many forms, from seeing someone do a good deed to seeing a motivational quote on a mug; whatever form it takes is something that we all should hold dear. My inspiration comes in the form of my 13-year old brother. 

Cassidy Albright, my youngest sibling, is my inspiration every day. He is growing up fast and with him he is taking life by the horns. He inspires me because he is figuring out life at his own pace. With the age gap, I can act like a role model but I am not with him nearly enough to give him footsteps to follow in. 

It inspires me, that he is taking what he knows, doing what he loves and making friendships and relationships with the people he meets. He grows in school and stays positive in all environments. That is what gives me hope and love for the future. Most inspirations come from people you literally look up to, but in this case when I look up to him I actually look slightly down. 

To follow your dreams and take a smile with you is something that we all should learn from and Cassidy does just that. He will always be seven years younger than me but I look at him and I get that drive to keep going and find my place in this world. 

Toni Marcheva

So many people miss who my mom is when they meet her. My mom is a frank woman who scares people with her Russian accent, lacks judgement about the appropriateness of certain actions in certain situations and has little interest in learning American conventions of behaviors. She truly is the most amazing person I know. 

She never lets fear stop her. She broke from all of the teachings she had received as a child to follow her dream to immigrate to the United States, leaving behind her family and staying in foreign lands along the way. In doing so, she gave me every opportunity I have before me. She boldly stands up for her faith. She also stands up for me, even when it shook up the relationship we had with other family members. My mom gives the most comforting hugs I have ever felt, and she is the only person who has ever made me fall on the floor laughing. 

I think, though, that the most inspiring thing about her is how she carries through life. She’s always learning more about what life is, she never pretends she is someone who she isn’t and doesn’t pretend to have all of the answers. I hope someday to fully learn this from her - to see life as a magical thing, to find the beauty in simplicity, and to boldly live without hiding behind a facade.


Jasmine Demers

Whenever anyone asks who my biggest inspiration is, I immediately think of my dad. Born in the 70's and a self-proclaimed "Metal Head," my dad filled our home with music, laughter and unconditional love. He has been through more and overcome more than anyone that I know, but has never failed in providing for our family and being my biggest supporter.

A few years ago, my dad was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, a genetic disease that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. HD is a fatal disease and there is currently no cure. My dad deals with the symptoms of this illness everyday, and even on his worst days, he remains the strongest, most encouraging person that I know.

My dad never forgets to remind me that he is my biggest fan. He taught me that giving up is not an option and that I can do anything as long as I believe in myself. If I turn out to be even half the person he is today, I will consider myself an extraordinary human being. 


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