Alumni Spotlight - Daftne Sanchez, Class of 2018

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Daftne Sanchez ‘18

University of Central Florida

Secretary for Knights of Social Justice

Community Service Chair for the Dominican Student Association

Education/Juvenile Justice for the NAACP

Graduating Class: 2018

Attending: University or Central Florida

What Are You Studying: Legal Studies

Email: daftne.sanchez@knights.ucf.edu

Describe your recent success in detail.: Our plans that we make for ourselves, are nothing in comparison to what God has planned out for us. We live in a world where we easily give up when things do not go as we wish or hope for. Last year, I was that individual - in a place where I struggled to accept that what happens to me is not because of me, it's FOR me. Once I’ve accepted that, everything else falls in place.

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During my first semester at the University of Central Florida (UCF), the first three months of my membership of attending a UCF organization called "Knights For Social Justice" (KSJ), I was appointed the position of Secretary. Within the same time frame, I ran for another position called, "Community Service Chair" for the newly chartered organization called, "The Dominican Student Association" (DSA). Two months later, I applied for a position for The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter. Based upon my interview, they determined that I would be the perfect fit for the cabinet level position, "Education/Juvenile Justice". Two months later today, I received an email of my acceptance as a certified Volunteer Advocate for Children (VAC) in Orange County for "The Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association". Recently I have received news of being featured among students of University of Central Florida (UCF) from Pine Hills from the Legal Studies department. I am overall, excited to see what the year has left for me.

Daftne participating in March For Our Lives in Washington, DC alongside her fellow FLUITES.

Daftne participating in March For Our Lives in Washington, DC alongside her fellow FLUITES.

How did Future Leaders United, if at all, prepare you for or propel you towards this achievement?: I am very grateful to be apart of a program that has guided me and my peers to fulfill our goals in life. There are far too many reasons why Future Leaders United has became such a popular subject among our community .For the most part, I was remotely a quiet individual with a lot to say! In the beginning I’ve lacked leadership skills and did not understand why I had to perceive myself as such a leader. Although I quickly realized that in any occupation you pursue, you’ve must have the qualities of a leader to do what you must successfully. Fortunately, FLU provided me with all the tools that I needed to become just that, a leader. I was selected to serve as the FLU Ambassador and with the work I did I was selected to serve as the President of the Youth Advisory Board. Youth Advisory Board is the very 1st of its kind in Orange County, FL Government's Children and Family Services Division - Community Action Centers (Pine Hills Location) this Youth Advisory Board was established to advise the center on its programming and brings valuable youth perspectives to the center. Advising for programs through shared decision-making to transform and create positive change in Orange County. Creating free youth-driven programming through workshops, training, and community outreach focuses on topics such as but not limited to financial literacy, drug/violence prevention, job preparedness, the importance of voter education, and the importance of knowing our rights.

I have to admit, the best part of being molded into a leader was being able to be myself. I didn’t have to be someone else to be accepted as such. Throughout the program, as students we were always introduced or revisited by special guests that have come to share with us their stories of their success and have always left us, including myself, a drive to improve ourselves and a thirst for more knowledge. We’ve had plenty of opportunities to attend events and trips such as ‘March For Our Lives’ in Washington D.C the previous year. That was an eye-opener and most importantly, a sign for me to hold on to my vision I have for myself and for our society. There’s always something to look forward to every Tuesday that we meet. Not once have I walked in and have questioned my presence in the room. Myself and other Fluites were always shown recognition and support for our voices. Our voices mattered. We were all in a room and when we spoke, we were heard. Through these experiences I have been taught the value of making connections, relationships, communication, and most importantly the value of unity in a community.

Daftne and her younger sister Alexandra

Daftne and her younger sister Alexandra

Anything else you would like us to know about yourself or your accomplishment?: My success, my heart’s desire and my passion has a lot to do with my upbringing. I’ll let you in on a situation I have not shared with the public. At the moment, and for quite some time, I have been the provider for my family. My mother continues to inspire me to keep going despite the predicament she is in. My younger sister inspires me to never give up on myself no matter how challenging life is. The truth is, I was expected to act mature as an adult but was forced to keep quiet about things no child shouldn’t have. One of the best things I loved while attending Evans was community service and meeting Ms. Sandra Fatmi. Whether it was painting murals, on campus, helping set up community events such as the Taste of Pine Hills, or even attending our monthly Pine Hills Community Council Meetings those experiences have shaped me to become humble, caring and also resourceful to others. Ms.Sandra Fatmi has became more than a mentor, she’s my second mom and continues to support me and my endeavors. I hope to one day share my stories with the world to show them that even when it feels like it’s the end of the world, tomorrow is a new beginning.

Daftne’s story was also featured in online via News 6 Orlando WKMG ClickOrlando

Click Link to read Daftne’s Story Orlando teen once in foster care shares story after years of witnessing domestic abuse