Juan Carlos Luis Bonilla Ventura – East Los Angeles College

Juan Carlos Luis Bonilla Ventura – Student Interview ’24

Health/Service Careers Foundational – East Los Angeles College

We had the pleasure of interviewing Juan Carlos Luis Bonilla Ventura on his experience in our CYLC learn-and-earn career pathway. They are a student fellows in our CYLC-East Los Angeles College Health Services Program. Learn more about his experience in our program and his future goals in self publishing 3 books and his eagerness to keep learning and growing.

In what ways did this fellowship experience contribute to your personal and professional growth, and how do you envision yourself applying the skills you have acquired into your local community?

Throughout my time working at Mi Centro, I have been able to understand better my community and their needs, which are to be understood and express ourselves in a totally different environment than the one we are used to. I have seen that sometimes there are some individuals that the only thing they need is to talk a little bit, express what they are feeling, and knowing that I can help someone just by being supportive and a good listener, makes me feel outrageously happy and that I am giving smart steps into achieving my dream. Mi Centro has also been a great place that has helped me to understand all the different rich cultures that are in different Central-American countries, as well as South-American countries.

Tell us about a moment or accomplishment during your fellowship that you are particularly proud of. How did it contribute to the goals of the organization or project you were involved in?

Currently, I am developing a group workshop for youths at Mi Centro which consists on writing about our emotions and understanding the power that they can have in our life. The following workshop is going be hosted every other week and will feature different culturally relevant writers from our community that will help us understand all about their inspiration, writing process and techniques, how to manage different emotions, etc. It’s a project I’ve been working a lot to ensure that it becomes successful and helps as many people as possible.

What are your plans for the future? In reflecting on your fellowship, what key lessons or insights did you gain, and how do you plan to apply these learning’s in your future endeavors or career path? For example, are you excited about starting a new job/career in your field, and or continuing school?

I have thousands of different plans and I can’t wait to see where life takes me in the next couple years; as for now, I have a lot of plans, currently, I am working in self-publishing 3 books later on this year, at the same time I’m balancing the demanding college activities of my double-major degrees in Psychology and Nutrition and Dietetics; while at the same time I am taking independently courses in Trichology and Skincare. I truly consider myself someone who loves learning and who is eager to learn as much information as possible every single day. From my fellowship I can 100% agree that I’ve been provided with the magnificent resources and information I needed for my self-development and growth, in fact, I believe that there are no barriers for anyone who has a big heart and big aspirations, it’s all in our perspective and attitude.

Can you tell us how we did as an organization and partner at your school? What would you improve, what did you like, and what advice would you give to future participants? How can they maximize their learning and make the most of their hands-on opportunities within an organization?

As an organization, I feel completely thankful for providing this opportunity to individuals that want to make a difference in their community and the people around them. It makes me feel inspired and engaged to keep giving my best in life, even in the tiniest aspect; I can tell that my community college and the students at it are people that want to build the best version of themselves even though the struggles of daily challenges; however, I believe that all the students that have taken this opportunity will agree with me that this program is a life changer for gaining work experience and effective networking. My advice for future participants is to take ALL the opportunities that are available on site and off site and to fit all of the activities as much as possible in an agenda, in life there is time for everything, everything we are doing now, is going to help us become the most successful people out there and to be different than anyone else, with our own unique traits.

Can you share your social justice origin story? What drives you to do the work in creating social change in your local community?

I discovered my passion in community involvement when I was in my hometown, Honduras; moving to the United States was a big step in my education and personal life, as unfortunately, the opportunities in my hometown are scarce. While I was growing up, I was able to appreciate the misfortune that my community suffered, and not just that, but I also experienced some, such as Bullying and discrimination because of being different; nowadays, my goal is to leave a mark in every single person I meet and be remembered by something I created or said. My legacy is that the world needs more love and kindness, and I’ll always put those values in front of me when I help someone.

What are some of the most pressing issues that need to be addressed in your local community and in society?

Better education, Resources for students/Immigrants, Financial Literacy, Time management and how to take better care of ourselves, especially with mental and physical health. I think that the more information we learn everyday, the better citizens we become. Sharing information with others is crucial to grow as a society, especially in a city like Los Angeles, “No’s” shouldn’t be too common when there are lots of different resources available.