Matty Fishkin is a well known face at East Valley. We all know him as an enthusiastic, cheerful advisor who’s always eager to help with bills or just chat. But Matty is also a former East Valley delegate who still appreciates what he learned from Youth and Government. Though he has moved on from the program, he definitely hasn’t left it behind. Since he graduated from the program he has been living by the values he learned in Y and G and enjoying the friendships he forged within East Valley and beyond.
When asked what he has taken away from the program Matty said, “East Valley has helped me grow exponentially since I graduated from the program. I have been able to integrate an articulate, critical mindset toward issues globally and locally.” But what does it mean to have that “critical mindset” that is so important in Y and G? It’s not only a way of thinking when it comes to bills and proposals, but a way of approaching life! One cannot hope to solve problems in the world without recognizing them first, and those with a critical mindset may become our generation’s greatest problem solvers.
Matty also discussed the relationships he built with other delegates during his time in the program. “The friendships and bonds that were created have lasted well into adulthood.” I know that everyone would love to see their Y and G friendships remain intact into adulthood, and I wondered how Matty had managed it. I didn’t even have to ask when the answer became clear to me. He’s a person who’s not afraid to stray from the path. He’s always looking out for the people he cares about. And for those reasons, he has quite a few people he cares about, and quite a few that care about him. He stated, “I feel confident in my ability to help others grow because of my willingness to step outside of my own comfort zone.” As a small Model United Nations delegate, I was thankful for Matty’s nurturing attitude and willingness to help me. He was like a guiding spirit that looked just a little like Johnny Depp.
All joking aside, Matty offered this advice to current Y and G delegates. “This is YOUR program. You have the ability to radically change anything at any given point if you put in the time to make it happen.” His passion for the betterment of the program and desire for each and every East Valley delegate to succeed is incredible to me. He never fails to enthuse delegates, making them appreciate the program that much more. “Creatively express yourself in a way that represents who you are and show that through your speeches and interactions.” Matty left me with a challenge. But this challenge wasn’t a race to some finish line. It’s an ongoing challenge that I’ve chosen to take on this year. “This is your opportunity to bring the voice of the teens in your community to a stage that is seen and heard. Carpe Diem!” I urge all of you to take up the challenge of succeeding in this program and finding your Y and G self. As Matty said, “Carpe Diem!”