Editor’s Note: With the Iowa caucus just weeks away, Coachella Uninc. youth reporters Karla Martinez and Naomi Carrion traveled to Iowa to join groups of students from Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C. as part of the Mikva Challenge, a program that works to empower young people to participate in the political process. From being a first time flyer to working on a presidential candidate’s campaign, check here every day to read updates from our youth reporters.
“Today we are traveling to Iowa for the Iowa caucus! I am excited that I will get to experience the caucus the same year I will be voting for the first time. I hope I get the chance to meet the presidential candidates. Wouldn’t it be great to meet the winning candidate so that I could say I was face-to-face with the president?
This morning when I was checking my bag, I was so worried I would forget something. Both my parents dropped me off at the Palm Springs Airport. I know they wanted to see me board my first plane ever.
I’m writing this blog post while we have a layover in Denver, and I can now say that my first time flying was both fun and scary. I did not expect the plane to move so much, or to get butterflies in my stomach, but once we were in the air, I could not stop looking out the window to take in the amazing view. Everything and everyone looked so very small, and once we flew higher all the people disappeared. I was supposed to read a book for my government class while on the plane, but time and the plane flew by fast. I spent almost the entire time gazing out the window.
Now it’s time to rest because tomorrow we will have many activities and we get to meet the other students from across the country.”
— Naomi Carrion
“While I was getting ready to travel to the Iowa caucus, I thought about whether or not I was ready to leave home. Even though the trip is just for three days, my heart raced and I began to miss my room even though I was still home. In my suitcase I packed thick jeans, thick sweaters and thick socks. I packed beanies and scarfs and gloves. Since the current temperature for Des Moines is 34 degrees, I knew I needed to pack for temperatures I’m not used to feeling here in the desert. Before leaving, I also spent time thinking about the experience that awaited me in Iowa. I didn’t know what Iowa looked like because I had never been there before but I was more than ready to make Iowa my home for three days.
The first flight we took was from Palm Springs to Denver. While we were waiting to take off, I thought back to the first time I had flown and I started to become nervous. Thankfully, my teacher sat next to me and oddly enough, it brought me so much relief. For the entire flight, which was only one hour, I watched movies and looked out the window. When we arrived in Denver, my first thought was, “How does so much snow exist in one place?” My second thought was, “How would people from Coachella react to this temperature?”
After our turbulent flight from Denver to Des Mois, our group was tired but we met a few of the students from other groups who were also staying at our hotel. I was more than excited to see who I would be rooming with and who my assigned candidate would be for this weekend. I can’t wait to spend three days learning about advocacy and campaigning. I’m excited to watch the youth from Los Angeles, Washington D.C.,Chicago and Coachella work together to create a better America for tomorrow and for ourselves!”
— Karla Martinez
About the authors:
Karla Martinez has been a youth reporter with Coachella Unincorporated for two years, where she has produced numerous articles and reflections on issues like community violence prevention to voter registration. In April 2015, Karla won the Young Lady of the Year Award for Riverside County District 4 for her work with the Land Use Planning Awareness project. View Karla’s author page here.
Naomi Carrion is a senior at Nova Academy in Coachella, Calif. Naomi joined Coachella Uninc. this fall as an apprentice and she is excited to make a difference in her community through her writing. Naomi also enjoys art and math. She hopes to attend college next year to major in math. View Naomi’s author page here.