The role models are right here at home

There is so much talk about who our children should look up to as role models.

Movie stars, professional athletes and politicians are built up and put on pedestals. Their accomplishments are lauded and oftentimes embarrassingly overstated. These men and women are often portrayed as perfect people, living perfect lives that the rest of us should aspire to and dream of attaining for ourselves. That is, until those pristine images come crashing down. When that happens, the public outcry is, “But who are our children supposed to look up to?”

The answer is quite simple. The role models are right in front of our noses. They are the people — young and old — in our communities. They are all around us, people who are taking chances and leaps of faith, breaking down barriers, and working hard — day after day — to accomplish their goals and often also helping others to do the same.

These Camas and Washougal residents’ stories can be found on the pages of the Post-Record.

There are young people like Ilse Villasenor who was recently named Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club. She moved to Camas from Mexico 11 years ago, and despite the understandable adjustment to a new culture remained determined and focused. She has taken advantage of educational opportunities available to her and as a volunteer now works to help educate others.

Other young people are also making an impact. Camas High School seniors Juliyen Davis, Satya Hariharan, Quentin Lebeau and Cameron Vega have developed a mobile application that connects homeowners with driveways, to drivers who need a place to park. They formed a company, started a Kickstarter campaign, and are on their way toward achieving their goals.

Striving to achieve dreams is not limited to the young.

Camas-Washougal Fire Chief Nick Swinhart recently accomplished a long-held goal to, for the second time, climb Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina.

And then there’s Jennifer Samodurov, who founded Flawless360 in her Washougal home this past summer. Inspired by the book, “Interrupted,” by Jen Hatmaker, her mission is to help teen girls who cannot afford to buy new clothes, and work with them to select the best styles.

These local examples, and there are hundreds and hundreds more, provide the answer to the question: “Who are our role models?” As it turns out, the best place to look is not on the television or movie screen, or inside national magazines, but instead right here at home.

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