Coming from a small household of only four family members, Paola maintains a strong and unique relationship with her parents and her younger autistic brother. When her brother was diagnosed with autism at age 3, her family started to drift apart. Paola was always taught from a young age that it is essential to never give up and that family is one of the most important gifts that one could have. In her household, Paola takes initiative and is a positive daughter for her parents and her brother. Despite her brother’s disability, Paola’s family cannot imagine their lives any other way. Paola and her family have gained qualities of patience and selflessness and that has helped her family to grow strong. Without her brother’s autism, Paola would not know patience and value the acceptance of other individuals no matter how different they are.
Demonstrating dedication and commitment to her school work is what Paola does every day. From staying late hours after school participating in various activities, Paola takes advantage of her time because she knows that at the end of the day it will be rewarding when she attends the University of her Dreams, Columbia University and majoring in Film & Production. Paola has been recognized as an honor roll recipient as a Junior at Roosevelt High School Magnet program. On campus, she has been a spokesperson for various campus-wide initiatives such as Denim Day & Kick Butts Day, helping to raise awareness against drugs and sexual violence. Paola is also the President of the Keystone teen leadership group at Roosevelt High School and she has visited classrooms in which she reached out to students of all grade levels.
Film plays an important role in Paola’s life because it has the power to release happiness, sadness, anger, but most importantly awareness. However, it is not only awareness but the motivation to take initiative to be as Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Taking steps to reach her goal, she is a currently a mentee in the Big Brothers Big Sister – Women in Entertainment Program in alliance with The Hollywood Reporter. Paola aspires to travel the world in order to show awareness of social and political injustices to let others be aware of global issues.
The Salesian Boys & Girls Club creates a safe haven for kids of all ages and young adults in an environment filled with leaders that aspire for every member to excel and become great! Paola shared, "I am honored to have been selected as the Salesian Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year. The Club is like a second home. Without the club, most of the kids wouldn’t know what it means to be giving, kind, and the meaning of sharing. It is where one becomes a leader and develops into the role model he/she is going to be for the rest of their life." Congratulations again to Paola Gomez, our 2014 Youth of the Year at Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles!