Chapter Leader Spotlight: Benjamin Andrade

Meet Benjamin Andrade, CARP El Camino College’s Inter-Club Council (ICC) Representative!

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Hello, my name is Benjamin Andrade, and I am currently a student at El Camino College (ECC) pursuing a passion in music. As a 19 year old, life can be empowering and eventful, carefully balancing things like school, work, family, and identity. I can’t say I have always been carefully considering these during my early teens though…

Back in high school, I understood there was a God that loves unconditionally, has mighty power, and knows His people, so I had faith, but it was only an understanding because I wasn’t applying these into my own life. I was self-reliant; I didn’t think there was much need to ask for help, and if something came up, I thought I could handle it myself. As high school progressed, this was tested. Relationships got more complex; family time wasn’t balanced anymore, and I was struggling to find my personal fit in a community.

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Between all this, my faith was gone, and I felt lost. This got me into a schedule that only concerned the benefit of myself. I would go to school, hang out with friends, go to work, and come home to my family only to sleep, and then repeat that schedule for another year. It was as if I was in a loop, with no feeling of joy that lasted. This carried out until I finally decided it’s time to stop living in my head.

Now in college, I started asking God for guidance again and used the universe as my tool. It was after English class at ECC when I started to write down my ideas on what changes I wanted starting with my attitude and how I wanted to start viewing my life with a happy perspective. Having written my ideas down was relieving, but there were still no revelations on how to lead this meaningful life I wanted.

Ben (right) and Kyosei Nagai (left)

Ben (right) and Kyosei Nagai (left)

The next day, I did the same thing after class in a different spot next to the trees. This time I wanted to get more specific, so I divided the paper into two parts: mind and body. Writing down the things I wanted to improve on internally and what it should look like externally. I was completely focused when Kyosei Nagai, the CARP ECC President, approached me. At first, it felt like a normal encounter. I found out we went to the same high school and his brother was in my grade. Then, he spotted my paper and asked “what are you working on?” This caught me off guard because what I was doing I didn’t think anyone would understand, let alone a stranger. But, I was in a position where I needed relief and was searching for help, so I decided to show him my paper.

In that moment, the empowerment started. Kyosei totally understood what I was doing and told me, my mind and body aren’t supposed to be separated like how they are on my paper but as one in harmony. After hearing that, my head that was so full of clutter and confusion became calm and present. I knew this was the fresh start and new goal that I needed.

Ben and the CARP ECC board.

Ben and the CARP ECC board.

I can honestly say this is what CARP does for its members: clarify the division within ourselves and, more importantly, offer, with open arms, solutions to this problem and an understanding that we are all in this together. CARP has created an atmosphere where I’m able to discover more about my purpose and give others this same hope.

CARP ECC is part of the larger CARP LA hub. Find out more on ECC and all LA chapters on their Facebook page. Contact to share your story.

Help more students like Ben to find hope, freedom, and clarity by donating today!