At the Windrose Project, we know that young people are the future of our nation. They have the potential to offer principled solutions to real problems that their communities face. The creativity, critical-thinking, perseverance, and compassion of young leaders sets them apart as instruments of positive change. In a country founded on the idea of self-government, civic involvement and service are absolutely essential! Young Americans must rise to the occasion and choose action over apathy. Thankfully, we are already seeing examples of young leaders stepping up to be the difference-makers in their community.
Cindy Caldera, a 19-year-old from Palmdale, CA is doing just that. In February and March, Cindy volunteered on Olga Lidia Ayala’s City Council campaign in District 7 of Los Angeles County. She knocked on countless doors, made many phone calls, and stepped up to help get the word out. Windrose is very proud of Cindy’s initiative, and we are proud to include her on the Leadership Team of our brand new Los Angeles Windrose Chapter, launching this summer.
Windrose recently connected with Cindy to debrief her experience on the campaign trail. Read on to learn more about Cindy’s faithful service in her community:
Why did you get involved in a local City Council Campaign?
I was able to get involved in this awesome opportunity by reaching out to Olga Lidia Ayala. I asked her if there was any way in which my family and I could pledge support and help spread the message. I reached out to get involved in this opportunity not only to support an amazing and hardworking candidate, but to get involved in the community where I grew up as a child until the end of my high school years. I no longer live in the community of District 7, but I do know the constant issues that affect the area and the importance of making an informed decision during the primaries. I admire Olga Lidia Ayala’s commitment to defend the large immigrant population in her district, and I also fully support her efforts to increase economic opportunity and combat homelessness. The high cost of living in District 7 has dramatically increased homelessness, but Olga wants to encourage job creation as an opportunity to escape the poverty cycle. Even before she ran for City Council, she had provided financial classes to help many people get back on their feet. This candidate is committed to her representing her friends, neighbors and constituents well. I was proud to stand behind her.
What was the toughest part of being involved in the campaign?
I believe the toughest part of the campaign was coming across those who did not care to vote at all. It was not only tough, but heartbreaking. There are millions of people all over the world who would love to have the privilege [to vote] that we as Americans have. We have the freedom to cast a vote and have our voice be heard, while other countries do not. It also saddens me to see the issues that this community has, yet people would rather not exercise their right to vote.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
What really resonated with me was not only supporting Olga through the campaign process, but being able to work directly with her since I’ve known her my whole life. She has always given top priority to the community of District 7, and it was a pleasure to work directly with a respectable candidate like Olga whom I’ve known for many years.
How did this impact your perception of the American political process?
This [experience] has impacted my perception of the American political process tremendously, because it has made me aware that being informed about local elections can make a really big difference. Primary elections have significantly lower numbers than those present during a Presidential election. Many times, for a simple lack of information, we close our minds to many opportunities that can be beneficial to others, such as casting a vote.
Would you participate in a local campaign again in the future?
I would definitely participate again, because it has given me knowledge that I did not have before about City Council elections!
Would you recommend that others participate in a local campaign? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend others to participate in a local campaign, because it will give them a first-hand experience that will help them understand that every effort counts no matter how little they believe it is!
Although Ayala lost her City Council race in mid-March, Cindy affirmed her commitment to fighting the good fight and remaining active in her community. Ayala remains an inspiration for Cindy; one setback will not silence her commitment to improve her city!
Stay tuned for local races in your community that you could volunteer on. Although mid-term elections do not occur until 2018, there are many local races for city council and other positions that need your help! If you are interested in supporting your community or serving in elected office, volunteering on a campaign is a great place to start. Campaigns offer fast-paced experiences to develop valuable skills. Furthermore, they help you unite with other people to make a difference!