“A better world is a one where people are given the opportunity to empower themselves. YPI goes out into neighborhoods and reaches out not only to the future of the city, but generations of future leaders who are going to shape the way that our society is going to be 20 or 30 years from now.”
This year, Andrew Rodriguez was sworn in as the youngest city councilmember ever to serve the city of Walnut, located 30 miles east of downtown LA. He labels himself as a product of the Walnut Valley School System—a gift bestowed upon him by his parents who sacrificed a lot to land in a location with good schooling.
At the age of 8, Andrew watched his father working on Capitol Hill for Senator Max Baucus who is now the US Ambassador to China. It was then that Andrew knew he wanted to go into Public Policy.
After graduating from Walnut High School, he continued his education at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he earned his BA in Political Science with a minor in Planning and Public Policy. After graduation, he returned to California and joined AmeriCorps, through YPI’s Promise Corps, to help students complete high school and apply to colleges.
Andrew will complete his term as councilman in 2020 at the age of 27. He completed his term for Promise Corps in July. When asked what is next, he shrugs and smiles. There are several things that Andrew has his sights on professionally, but he’s in no rush.
This summer will be filled with a trip to the Democratic National Convention where he will be a delegate for the state of California; a trip to Brazil with his father to visit his twin brother who is working at the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro; and lastly, a backpacking trip around Southeast Asia with some of his college friends. Travel is something he gravitates toward because of the educational value in seeing different places and meeting people with different backgrounds. “That really moves me,” he says. “It grows my perception of the world.”
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