Taking it all in. Taking it all home.

Rayna journeyed with a group from the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida to New York City in July 2016 as part of the SYF Silver Lining Program. Every student that participated with Rayna came from a different background, but what they all had in common was a dedication to being engaged in their community. By increasing her awareness of other cities, she’s now better equipped to influence her own and she’s forever grateful, as she describes in this letter.

To My Dear Supporters,

My name is Rayna, and I was given the opportunity to go to New York on the 2016 SYTA Youth Foundation Silver Lining Program. I just wanted to give thanks to all of you who made it possible. You made the dreams of 25 become a reality and that deserves much more than a simple thank you.

Every tour we took, I took something back home with me. The views were breathtaking and the experience was very well cherished. I would have to say that my trip to the 9/11 Memorial was one that stood out. I went through so many emotions, those of which brought me so much closer to the victims as if I knew them personally. It was definitely an eye opener, and I’ll be one to admit that I did shed a tear or two.

Something else that definitely stuck with me was the “Blue Man Group.” It was amazing, hilarious, and a moment that I could never forget. As I was sitting there, I would just look at all my friends and smile and laugh and forget about all that was happening back home, and live in the moment. I didn’t want it to end. They sure did an amazing job keeping us interested and laughing up a storm.

It’s just crazy to me, even writing this letter, talking about how I went to New York! Some of the best moments I’ve ever made were made in New York. I went to New York with friends and club members, but came home with a family. I met some of the most wonderful people in New York and I would like to list them and thank them as well. Thank you to, Beverly, Norm, and Emily and Becky from SYTA.

This journey is one that I will cherish forever. I am so honored to have gotten such a rewarding and life changing experience and I can’t thank you enough. And to my supporters once again, thank you is not even the right word to use for what you all have done for me. You guys change lives, and you have definitely changed mine. I was given the trip of a lifetime and it couldn’t have went any better. Again I am so thankful and will forever remember my time in New York City.

Thank you,

Transformation begins with you.