Yeymi Cedeno Guerrero, a sophomore at Cuyahoga Community College, is a budding community leader and advocate for displaced persons and refugees. She has already demonstrated her passion for helping others by working part-time for the Spanish American Committee of Cleveland. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, the Committee assisted over 3,000 families from Puerto Rico and Ms. Cedeno Guerrero helped many with filling out applications, translating for those who did not speak English, and generally assisting where needed. A recent immigrant herself, she is particularly empathetic to those striving to rebuild their lives in Northeast Ohio. To help develop her leadership abilities, Ms. Cedeno Guerrero applied to, and was accepted into, the Mandel Scholars Academy of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center at Cuyahoga Community College. Established in Spring 2016, the Academy gives committed students who are passionate about leadership the opportunity to work collaboratively with community organizations and leaders through guided coursework in the humanities and co-curricular education. Ms. Cedeno Guerrero is also active in Student Government and the Honors Program at Cuyahoga Community College.
I will never forget the day I came to the United States: December 16, 2016. I was lost, confused and I did not know English. I set a goal for myself that I wanted to learn as much English as possible. I also wanted to get into college and challenge myself every day. As I started to work towards my dreams and goals, I got a job at the Spanish American Committee. I first became involved in addressing issues of economic inequality by working with homeless people who came from Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria. As I continued working with them, I came to understand how societal systems can work together to create a new start for those who come with nothing and without the English language. Helping them understand that they will have a better future here and will not be outcast has provided me with the ability to better address social issues. On campus, I became involved with the Student Government and my goal is to help students, especially those who came from another country like me, to have a better college experience and understand that they are important to society.