Rosbelly Martinez from Team South Dakota
Another Course to College
Rosbelly Martinez is not your typical high school junior. In her soft-spoken ways she tells the story of how she has matured into the responsible, driven student that she is today. In middle school you would have met a different girl, one who didn’t care about school or her future, one who didn’t communicate to her parents, one who resented her obligation to teach her younger brothers Spanish and take care of them after school. But somewhere along the way, Rosbelly realized that in order to get far in life she would have to work hard. She knows that as an immigrant in America, “you have to work a little bit harder because you want to prove yourself more.”
If there is one thing that Rosbelly knows how to do, it’s speak up for herself. It’s what makes her such a great leader as captain of her softball team. It’s what helped her organize the Suicide Walk as part of her high school’s community service club. Rosbelly is well aware of the issues in her community but also how to change them.
Rosbelly was so excited to be preparing for her Quest Adventure trip to Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. It was breaking news for her to learn that poverty, suicide, and drugs are so rampant on the reservation. She now understands very clearly the importance of seeing the whole picture of a place, knowing the whole story. She learned in her history and English classes that in order to form an opinion, one must see all sides. By travelling to the poorest part of the US, Rosbelly would return to her school to speak up for the other side.
Rosbelly is back now, changed for the better because of her trip. She spent a week working on the Pine Ridge Reservation alongside her fellow teammates and other volunteers from Remember. It was a challenge for her team to adjust to the hard work. Together they built a wheelchair ramp, installed trailer skirting and built an outhouse. Every day they knew that the service they were providing was going to improve the home of someone on the reservation. At night, through reflection and featured speakers, the students from ACC learned about the suffering of the Lakota Sioux, how an entire people have been stripped of their culture and language throughout history.
But Rosbelly and her teammates learned about more than just history on their trip. They gained a maturity each day as they worked. They came together as a family and supported each other throughout the experience. Rosbelly came back angry at and frustrated with the conditions of the reservation. She can’t understand why she had never learned about Pine Ridge in her history classes or textbooks. This anger fuels Rosbelly and her teammates as they work to make a difference in the lives of marginalized populations here in Boston. Together they are composing a proposal to send to Mayor Walsh that would provide a more creative approach to providing essential housing for Boston’s large homeless population. We at Quest are so proud of the work that they are doing and we can’t wait to see where Rosbelly goes with her vibrant confidence and drive to do good.