I just decided to do a post on him. I’ve been thinking about how he’s influenced me a lot lately since he’s leaving soon to possibly go back to California. I met him when I first joined AVOYCE. When I first saw him I thought he was a weirdo, because he looked funny and he acted a bit awkward (sorry, Shawn). Over time I started to know more about him and now he’s one of the most amazing people I know. He’s just so… knowledgeable. He knows EVERYTHING. He’d always just tell us random facts like “did you know…” and when I have a question I always came to him with it. He’s a certified counselor, he used to work for tokyopop, he was a boy scout, he can speak 7 languages, he’s attended 2 universities, and he’s done a lot more than just that.
The biggest thing that he taught me is that I have a choice as to how I want to live my life. Growing up in an Asian family, I’m expected to do well in school, go to college, and become some sort of doctor. Shawn has so many skills and he has so much business and housing knowledge/experience, he can become almost anything he wants. Yet, he chooses to spend his time with us, AVOYCE. He doesn’t earn much money at all, and he has to work with teenagers and do a lot of work for them. I really don’t understand this about Shawn at all, why would he pick such a low paying job, when he could do something that pays a lot and is worth his while? He told me that this IS worth his while. And that if educating youth and training them to become leaders means that he wont get much money, then he’s willing to do that. Sometimes I still don’t understand why he does so much for us. He even buys us food and snacks. Basically, he taught me life isn’t all about money.
Shawn helped me understand life better from a new perspective. Since he’s also Asian, he understands all the things that an Asian teenager has to go through. Shawn’s the first adult I’ve ever had some sort of connection to. Whenever my parents do something that I that I think is weird, he explains to me why they do it. Like why they fight over the bill at restaurants, why they want me to do so well in school, why a lot of Asian children are expected to give their money to their parents when they get a job, etc. He taught me how to be humble, he also told me not to be so apologetic, how to be modest, but most of all he taught me that I have a voice in everything.
It upsets me that AVOYCE might end this year. AVOYCE without Shawn… I just can’t imagine it. Shawn’s getting a real job now and he’s trying to find one in Boston to stick around a bit longer but if he can’t then he’s going back to Cali. He helped me figure out how I identify myself and he helped me understand more about my identity. Whenever I’m upset or whenever I’m troubled, or when I’m in a sticky situation – Shawn would always give me a huge smile, and I’d smile back. Shawn said that even though he has a lot of skills, his best skill is smiling. He always smiles. At first it was really creepy, but now I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve also never seen Shawn mad or frustrated, he’s always calm to me.
I’m sad that Shawn has to leave so soon, because I haven’t even known Shawn for that long yet he’s influenced my life so much. Shawn doesn’t even KNOW he’s my role model but I’m pretty sure he knows I admire him in some way. But I guess I have to be glad that Shawn’s finally going after what he deserves and that he’s putting his skills to use. I understand that Shawn did his part in AVOYCE, he completed his role, just like Nanny McPhee did (see the connection?), he taught me how to be a better leader. But more than that, he taught me about life. So if there was ever a time where Shawn questioned how well he did as a youth coordinator, I hope this answers his question and I hope that he never doubts that he did a good job. He better be proud of himself for being able to be such a positive influence for a teen like me. And I can only hope that the leadership roles I take also make him proud of me as a person, because all I know how to repay him with is to let him know that all his hard work paid off. So if Shawn really does leave and all, I’d just like to say cheers, thanks for everything.
– Metropolitan Youth