Julio Cardenas

ESL 91

Spring, 2003

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A Strong Influence



Each person has someone that has made a difference in his/her life. In many case or circumstances when we are children, we adopt someone, for example, a cartoon hero or a movie star, as an influential figure that gives to us another view of life. In other cases, the influential person may be a family member, a relative, or a teacher. However, in my situation, the influential person who made a change in my life is one of my friends, George Nieves.

My life was dominated by fear to make the wrong decisions I was afraid of myself, and I found myself different from others in the school and everywhere because I could not speak English like other people. However, that was before I met George Nieves, a Spanish 52-year-old man, a veteran of the Vietnam War.

George is a man that has suffered many emotional problems in his life. When he was early in his 20ís, he was sent to Vietnam, where he was very affected emotionally by everything that he did and saw in the war. When he came back to the United States, George was depressed, but he went back to the school. In college, George studied physical education. After studying, he was interested in sports and physical recreation, so he worked with children and teenagers. He was interested in helping the children and teenagers because he wanted to take them off the street and give them a better future with sports discipline. He got a job with the New York City Park and Recreation department, where he worked for many years with a good reputation and admiration. However, his life started to change; his bad dream from Vietnam was always around him. George was affected psychologically. He was very affected by the drugs used as medicines. For the reason he became addicted to marijuana because he found it as the only method to get out of his problems and kill his emotional pain. Those problems cost him his job.

Five-years later George started to work again. He worked at a recreational center for children and teens that wanted to be boxers. George was a voluntary worker in this place before I met him. After a few months, we become friends. He was very interested in talking with me about school and education but unfortunately, I was out of the school by this time, so I did not bring any topics to the conversation. I had graduated from high school, but I was scared to go to college because I was afraid of my English. However George motivated me to study, read books about sports, nutrition and other subjects. After this help that George gave me, I wanted to come to Kings borough Community College to improve my English and study physical education. In addition, he motivated me to study hard every day to progress more.

I believe that when people help others to accomplish goals everything comes easily, and this person does not need to be a perfect human, a super hero from a cartoon show or a movie star to be a great and positive influential person. In some cases like mine, this influential person can be a simple person with defects and problems that people in some cases face. I give thanks to George, who now is retired from his job; I give merit for everything that he did for me and for being a strong influence in my life.