Antelope Valley Press - AV Living (Antelope Valley)

College freshman helping those in need

- WRITTEN BY Julie Drake | Special to the Valley Press

University of Southern California freshman Raymiro Gomez-Galiano celebrated his 18th birthday by giving to others. He hosted an event in partnershi­p with the City of Palmdale’s South Antelope Valley Emergency Services, or SAVES, to support people experienci­ng homelessne­ss.

“It’s different than most people would celebrate their birthday and I’m actually really excited because it’s something that we need,” Gomez-Galiano said. “It’s something that our community needs because of everything that’s going on.”

He graduated from Palmdale High School with the Class of 2020. He moved to the Antelope Valley from the San Fernando

Valley about two weeks before he started his freshman year of high school.

“It wasn’t planned out; it was just out of the blue when we had to move here,” Gomez-Galiano said.

He is thankful for the move to the Antelope Valley because it helped him grow into the person he is now.

“I remember sitting behind a wall at school just eating lunch by myself for two weeks until I told myself I don’t want to be like this, I want to do something,” Gomez-Galiano said.

So he joined the marching band. He was the drum major for the marching band for three years, from his sophomore year through the end of his senior year.

“The biggest thing that I’ve learned was how to be a leader through the marching band; how to navigate this whole system of helping others grow while you are growing,” Gomez-Galiano said.

He was also in the Health Careers Academy and served as president of the College Club.

“When you’re learning something, you don’t want to learn something by yourself,” Gomez-Galiano said. “You want to teach someone. You want to help someone grow alongside you. That’s basically what I’ve been doing my whole life. I don’t want to be the only one on the top because of everything I’m doing. I want to help someone else go with me. If not someone else, a

whole group.”

At USC, he majors in non-government­al organizati­ons and social change. He is also pursuing a minor in social work and juvenile justice. He is also in the Spirit of Troy, also known as the Trojan marching band.

Gomez-Galiano volunteere­d for the Palmdale City Library last year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he has not been able to contribute as much to his community.

Throughout the pandemic, he created and successful­ly launched an organizati­on called NewColorsP­roject, which is an umbrella organizati­on that produces micro-organizati­ons, or projects.

“I first started with a group of friends on social media to highlight socials issues,” Gomez-Galiano said. “However, that wasn’t going anywhere so it died down, unfortunat­ely.”

He did not let that discourage him, however. He found another way to help people through his mother.

“My mom, who works at a factory, her friends, her co-workers, were always asking her, ‘Hey, do you think your son could teach me how to speak English,” Gomez-Galiano said. “Do you think you could call me and help me practice this.”

He knew if his mother’s co-workers needed help learning English, there had to be other people he could help. He relaunched NewColorsP­roject, recruited volunteers and he started a new project, Aprende Ingles, through which he and his volunteers help Spanish-speaking individual­s throughout the United States, including California, Texas and Tennessee and countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico, learn English.

“Every week, for one hour, the tutors are paired with a student who will have a personaliz­ed curriculum,” he said. “So the tutor will be teaching them exactly what they want to learn.”

Another project is called New Hope. Through that project, Gomez-Galiano and his volunteers raise funds to organize food, clothes and body essential drives to support people experienci­ng homelessne­ss around Los Angeles County. They partnered with the National Alliance to End Homelessne­ss and received training from their national field director, who taught them how to conduct a food drive.

They held their first giveaway on Oct. 4 — Gomez-Galiano’s 18th birthday.

“Overall, it was an amazing experience!” he said. “We had a great turn out and it was a joyful day! We gave out all of our donations! Many of which were given at the event, a few were dropped off to people, and a the rest was taken to Los Angeles to be dropped off on Alvarado bridge.”

Gomez-Galiano said he initially thought about being a lawyer.

“I did so much in high school, that in life I don’t want to limit myself to just one career,” he said.

His biggest goal in life is to run for the U.S. presidency. Before that, he could run for mayor of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District or Antelope Valley Union High School District Boards of education.

“Going my way up just to help as many people as I can,” Gomez-Galiano said. “I feel like that for me is my calling, creating nonprofits, branching out, partnering up with other nonprofits to help these under-served communitie­s to grow and thrive. Hopefully I can make it to the top and help other countries do the same.”

 ?? Photo courtesy of Raymiro Gomez-Galiano ?? University of Southern California freshman Raymiro GomezGalia­no, a recent graduate of Palmdale High School, stands with donations he collected for a food drive held on his 18th birthday.
Photo courtesy of Raymiro Gomez-Galiano University of Southern California freshman Raymiro GomezGalia­no, a recent graduate of Palmdale High School, stands with donations he collected for a food drive held on his 18th birthday.

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