Timothy Chapa, sophomore at Uplift Heights Preparatory in West Dallas has been working hard to change the perception of teenagers in his community. Chapa along with 300 residents were on the verge of eviction from HMK properties in West Dallas. As organizations and community leaders began to speak up and fight for the community, he noticed the lack of youth leaders during this crisis. The opportunity came from his mother getting involved with organizations like the Texas Organization Project.
“I realized during the HMK process that the youth were not very involved and that many people had misconceptions of our youth in the community which led me to want to prove to them that we are capable not only to excel in education but in our community as well,” said Timothy Chappa, 11th grader, Uplift Heights.
Chapa, alongside his community, worked hard to have their voices heard and actions made by protesting and giving speeches at City Hall.
“It was a pressured year having school work, tests, and being on the line of possible eviction, “said Chappa.
Teachers, staff and scholars learned of his involvement and supported him throughout this battle. Through the HMK process, Chapa met City Councilman Omar Narvaez, District 6 representative. Working with his community and Councilman allowed him to see first-hand the issues and areas that needed more support from our city.
Chapa blended his social life with his academic life by including his community in his personal project for sophomore year which he is focusing on how adults perceive youth in and around his community. He plans on sharing his life story as a youth in his community and sharing others’ stories that are also achieving great outcomes. His academic project caught the attention of Councilman Narvaez and through this connection Timothy was presented with the opportunity to apply to the Youth Commission board.
“At first when he told me about the opportunity for youth commission I was not sure because of the rigorous academic life I have at Uplift. I started to outweigh the positive impact it would have on me and my community. I decided to apply for the position after mentioning it to others in my community and receiving so much support,” said Chapa.
Chappa understood the impact he could have on his community and on the perception of youth in the city. He was unanimously presented with the position of District 6 Youth Commissioner.
“My family members are factory workers and supermarket workers, and I never saw myself being anything more than that. After being involved and receiving this opportunity, I now see myself being something more,” said Chapa.