Throughout my life, I have been presented with the challenge of adapting to new communities. This challenge has presented itself in multiple ways.

The first is through international travel. When I was 6 years old, my parents told me I was going to move to Japan. At first, I had mixed feelings. I was excited to travel the world, but I was sad to leave all the friends I had back in the United States. As my parents helped me learn more about the Japanese culture, it started to grow on me. They would introduce me to Japanese food, movies, and toys to help me appreciate Japan more and be excited to move there. After about 3 months in Japan, I loved it. I had made new friends, expanded my passion for soccer, and tried new things. The most important part of this move was my new community. They were behind me at all times supporting me and making me feel comfortable.

One of my favorite memories that I have from my time in Japan is watching Italy vs. England play in the 2014 World Cup Group Stage game. I remember this because it was the first soccer game I watched and thought, “Wow I really want to be a soccer player”. My dad and I would go outside and pass the ball. When he was at work, I would kick the ball off the wall to myself.

The first thing I did, upon my return to the US, was to join a soccer team. I joined the FC Somers. The boys on this team were very encouraging during my first practice with them. I remember giving someone a bad pass and all he said was “You’re good, bro”. Instead of getting frustrated, my teammate understood that I was nervous and tried to comfort me. Our soccer team is now ranked 6th in the state and 32nd in the US for the 07 boys age group. No matter what happens, my team is a family and we will not give up on each other.

The last type of community I would like to talk about is my homeroom. One aspect at RA that I believe in most is the advisory program. Whether it's JJ tackling me and blaming me for having started it or Griffin and I doing our English Wordmaster homework together - it is always positive. Every day I go to school, I look forward to spending time and bonding with my homeroom. They provide me help, comfort me, and put a smile on my face.

These communities have made me a better person and helped me when I needed it most. They provide me comfort and help me overcome challenges. During your lifetime, try to form and join communities because it provides an extra layer of comfort for you and can help you be a better person overall. Thank you.