I cannot help but be optimistic when I see our generation building community, fostering solidarity and elevating our voices around the issues we are most passionate about. It is no secret that we are living in a time of great discord and our communities are facing huge social issues. Yet, now more than ever, we are stepping up to support one another and encouraging equity, equality and dialogue. It is this dynamism that has been a creative force for social change and is necessary moving forward.
While many of us are not natural born leaders, leadership skills can be created and perfected by mere steps. For me, as early as the age of 19, I knew there was a lack of programs aimed at helping our disadvantaged border youth be civically engaged and evolve into social entrepreneurs. That motivated me to start CYnergy (civic.youth.energy), a leadership development program aimed at providing high school juniors/seniors the power, tools and awareness they needed to take action around issues they felt passionate about. I didn’t realize that in my effort to motivate and mobilize our students that they would serve as my inspiration to build a life around public service. Doing so has not been easy, but it has afforded me tremendous opportunities like the honor of having been appointed to serve our community as your County Judge.
We should not let being young stifle our ability to think big. It is incumbent upon each of us to offer a vital infusion of ideas, energy and passion to the work we are doing. By doing so we are making a bold statement about our commitment toward ensuring the progress of our community and its institutions. I would challenge each of you to seriously consider running for public office, serve on boards, and continue volunteering and in doing so bring others with you to help continue the ripple effect. Because in today’s world, we cannot just demand change, we must actively be a part of the call to engage others. Let us use our various platforms to build on our collective power and continue to create a more resilient community where everyone’s voice is heard.
Congratulations for being a part of a powerful network of leaders creating sustainable change in the various sectors you each represent. And congratulations to the United Way for recognizing that in order for our community to be successful we must invest and connect our young leaders. El Paso’s future lies in the great work that each of you is doing.
Ruben is a native of Canutillo, TX where he grew up on a small farm with his parents Ruben and Hortencia Vogt. A first generation college graduate, he holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and English/American Literature from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where he also earned a Master’s of Science in Intelligence and National Security Studies. Ruben Vogt is committed to strengthening his community by helping empower others to create lasting social change.