YAP - Youth Awakening Project
(Project Coordinator since 2016)
"You must BE the change you wish to see in the world."
The above is a quote Carlos carries with him in application, spirit, and purpose. Born on a cold day in December, in Chicago Illinois, Carlos Sakwanomtewa did not always know what his life path would be. Having been torn from the bosom of his mother’s safety at the tender age of eight, and later tossed into a whirlwind of adverse and seemingly impossible situations did not bring this youngster’s grand spirit down. Even through the tribulations of being homeless, without foods, and rejected by his own family, this youth would find a ray of hope in the memories he held of being held safe in the arms of love. Remembering stories and memories of better times, somehow did the trick, at least for a while.
“I am of mixed ancestral roots. Mesoamerican and Hopi Native American of the Coyotl Clan. The word COYOTL means Coyote in the Mesoamerican Nahuatl (Uto-Aztecan) Language, which is also the base for the Hopi Language. Following the path of the Shaman means straddling both the Material and the Spiritual World for Advice, Healing, and Medicine. Coyote Man (Is’Taqa in Hopi) is my Tribal Name. Carlos dedicates his commitment to expand the knowledge we receive by opening one’s perception. Through Starlight Projects Foundation he hopes to also reach today’s youth and help awaken the Sleeping Spirit inside all of us.
“We all have purpose, integrity, and we can all do what we put our minds to. I've come from some of the worst backgrounds and still persevered who I am today still believing my dream, that I've kept in my heart all these years. If so many others can change, and I was able to do it… then you can do it too right?”
Having been separated not only from his parents but from his brothers and sisters too, Carlos had an uphill battle hiking through the fog of the chaos in his young life, never knowing whom was friend or foe. Mixing Love—with what would later become hate and anger twisted together—would become a powerful potion of emotions, and a purification by fire in the journey of finding his lost and absent identity. Growing up outside his rich ancestral tribal culture, Carlos felt his inner fire kindle and lead him towards a greater path. “Living definitely was not easy.” Says Carlos of his childhood hardships. “I had to live with several different people, both family and as a ward of the state itself. My hardships shaped and formed me into the person I am today. It feels like it took me a long time to turn 20 years old.”
STARLIGHT: Why is the Above quote your Favorite?
CARLOS: “This quote made me realize working with Starlight Projects Foundation is the job for me. To help people grow, and bloom like trees, so they can stretch their branches all over the world in order to help each other in the places that I can't reach. My love knows no bounds for every single person that I get to help along my journey.”
STARLIGHT: Do you feel that becoming a Survivor has given you Strength?
CARLOS: “It showed me how to be humble, and how to understand where everyone comes from. I lived it personally myself, and it is this very thing that makes me want to push forward and help stop any form of others living like that.”
STARLIGHT: How is it Different Today than Yesterday before you came to work with Starlight?
CARLOS: “It makes everything else I lived with before seem unreal. Like this was the true reality it was eye opening and made more sense. I've taken the path of the “Life Student” (which is what the Shaman is) hoping to not only spread a message, but also to spread a positive influence in showing people all over that we can make a difference to the whole world. Life's what you make of it, so why not make it worthwhile?”