Super Kid Jonny DelaCruz, a Lynnwood High School senior, is outstanding in his volunteer work, which includes Latino Educational Training Institute, Harborview Medical Center and shadowing a doctor for two weeks in Tanzania. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Lynnwood HS senior champions minority experience by volunteering

LYNNWOOD — Jonny DelaCruz is a volunteer superstar who has a passion for helping others, from Seattle to Tanzania.

Question: Your principal mentioned that you are outstanding in your volunteer work. Tell us about some of the things you’re involved in.

Answer: I volunteered over 250 hours in a nonprofit called LETI, which stands for Latino Educational Training Institute. It offers help with GED in Spanish, basic life skills, like setting up a bank account. … Through that I really got involved in helping people.

In the beginning of high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. When I started volunteering, I found something I was good at.

After that, I decided to volunteer at the level one trauma center at Harborview Medical Center. I thought, I want to help people and see what a hospital environment is like. It was exciting. I learned a lot from it.

Q: From there, you did some searching and found a medical internship program, Gap Medics, that offers study-abroad programs.

A: I was in Tanzania for two weeks, shadowing a doctor. All the volunteer work I had done before, it made me able to comfortably go in to a setting like that — because going into a developing country, to shadow a doctor and a nurse, can be scary.

Q: What did you draw from that experience?

A: A lot of Americans are in their own bubble. Sometimes you have to get out of that bubble to help others. … It’s expensive, but it’s really worth it and changes who you are as a person.

Q: Your school is quite diverse, and the activities you are involved with at LHS reflect that.

A: I’m in (Black Student Union) and Colores Unidos, which is kind of focused on Hispanic-Latino representation in Western Washington, which I find really comforting. … In Black Student Union we’re holding a Black Lives Matter and MLK assembly (Jan. 13) with Colores Unidos. I hope it will instill some hope, with the new president-elect. … We’re all OK and will be OK.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: I’m in (Advanced Placement) biology, AP government. I’m also taking the regular classes — English, personal finance, algebra 2, economics. My favorite would have to be AP government. Having class during the election season … has been really informative and I like it, and the teacher’s awesome.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: I would have to say Cesar Chavez. It’s, like, a cliche probably. But he instilled hope. If you think about the history and how he worked with the United Farm Workers of America to make a change in their situation and give voice to their situation. … He’s my inspiration because I want to do that in the future.

Q: What is it about helping others that has made such a big impact on your life?

A: This one time at Harborview, there was this kid who looked kind of like me. He came out of jaw surgery with a cast on his face. His mother didn’t speak a lot of English, and she was having trouble talking to the nurses. It was a Friday, and there weren’t a lot of staff around. Luckily enough I was there. I saw myself in him, because my family also immigrated to America (from Mexico). I was able to help her… The fact that that could have been me, it settled in me. So when I help other people, it’s like I still see him.

Q: So where do you go from here with this passion for helping?

A: I plan to go to either Seattle Central Community College for two years or the University of Washington Bothell, and then transfer to UW and get my bachelor’s in public health hopefully. … There’s a sense of purpose for me to help others … and help other people do that.

Q: How does it feel to be a senior?

A: It’s very anti-climactic. You just realize your past years and what you’ve accomplished — but it’s not what it seems (it was made out to be). Everyone has their own kind of story.

Q: Anything else to add?

A: I’d like to give a shout-out to the kids of color growing up in Western societies who feel disconnected from their culture — they are valid and not alone.

Melissa Slager: mslager@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3432.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Traffic’s creeping back and some transit to collect fares again

Community Transit and Sound Transit are set to resume fares June 1, but not Everett Transit.

Neil Hubbard plays the bagpipes in front of a memorial at Floral Hills cemetery in Lynnwood Monday morning. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Memorial Day tradition continues in Lynnwood amid pandemic

Loved ones placed flags at Floral Hills cemetery as bagpipes played in the distance Monday morning.

COVID-19 and domestic violence

Public Health Essentials! A blog by the Snohomish Health District.

Counting COVID deaths isn’t as simple as you might think

State relies on results of tests and death certificates in calculating the daily toll of the disease.

Stillaguamish Tribe gives $1M to food banks, fire services

“I had to do a double take,” said the director of the Stanwood Camano Food Bank, which received $300,000.

Island County gets go-ahead for Phase 2 of reopening economy

People can gather in groups five or fewer. Some businesses can open, if they follow guidelines.

The town the virus seemed to miss: No cases counted in Index

Some in the town of 175 fear outsiders could bring in the virus. Others just want things to get back to normal.

Worst jobless rate in the state: Snohomish County at 20.2%

In April, 91,383 were unemployed in the county. The aerospace sector was hit especially hard.

Boeing worker accused of murder after Everett party shooting

Police say the suspect, 35, made sexual advances and opened fire when he was turned down.

Most Read