CROSSING CROSSROADS

By Christopher Torrenueva

Welcome

Crossing Crossroads

Crossing Crossroads

MISSION AND VISION:
To open eyes, open hearts, open minds, and open doors to the possibilities of life.

In every chapter in life, we often find ourselves at a crossroads. We can either turn back, turn left, turn right, or choose to move forward. While moving forward is normally the most intimidating and overwhelming of the different pathways, it can be the most rewarding in the end. Crossing crossroads is about growing, developing, and evolving with every moment . . . every experience . . . and every lesson that comes with being a human being on Earth.

Hi, and welcome to Crossing Crossroads. I created this website as a platform to speak from the human spirit in a world where being a voice of peace and integrity can be overshadowed by evil and darkness. I invite you, the viewer, to take a walk through my journal of the journey of life and I hope to give you a sense of insight to help make your day more meaningful and fulfilling. Your presence is valued and signing the Guestbook would be greatly appreciated. What you have to say truly matters and I thank you for visiting. I look forward to seeing you back again in the near future.

Please note that Crossing Crossroads is a place that encourages people to live with an open mind and heart and thus, any comments that go against freedom and liberty will not be published.

The best to you.

Sincerely,

Christopher Torrenueva

Image Source: http://www.yourlocalweb.co.uk/cumbria/pallaflat/pictures

“And so I held on tight / To my own dignity / And my grace lifting me / Though things are always hard /
I will be making ground / By crossing crossroads now”
– “Crossing Crossroads” by Christopher Torrenueva

Read the entire poem here.

My motto in life is
“everything happens not only for a reason but also for the best.”

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December 22, 2010 Posted by | Website-Related | | Leave a comment

Diversity Ambassador

Due to unavoidable circumstances, the Diversity Ambassador position will not be implemented. However, this does NOT mean that I will give up in my journey to open people’s hearts and minds and in my pursuit to give a voice to those who otherwise may not be heard. If anything, this experience has made me the strong-willed individual I am today and I would like to thank everyone who instilled a sense of courage within me. My prayers go out to anyone who may feel vulnerable, targeted, or alienated. Always remember to stay true to yourself and to become more of who YOU truly are; your most authentic self. The greatest gift of God is the freedom to be who YOU were meant to be.

Description from YouTube:
Christopher Torrenueva, a grade 12 student from All Saints Catholic Secondary School, introduces the new Diversity Ambassador position in this public service announcement (PSA) for his fellow schoolmates.

Hi, I’m Christopher Torrenueva and I’m a grade twelve student at All Saints Catholic Secondary School.

It’s human nature when we make judgments and assumptions based on what we see and hear on television, movies, or the Internet. Unfortunately, this can lead to stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination.

Being in one of the most diverse countries in the world, we as Canadians can see a mosaic of cultures around us. Look around, and see for yourself the growing diversity in our own school community.

As we go through school, the workplace, and life, we may find ourselves putting other people down because of their age, sex or sexual orientation, national identity, racial or ethnic background, mental or physical capabilities, socioeconomic class, religion, and the list goes on.

Several education institutions in Ontario, such as the University of Toronto and Donald A. Wilson Secondary School just across the street, have decided to address the issue of discrimination and incorporate a position of equality into their student governments.

This is what inspired me to come up with the idea of proposing a new position to Student Council this year, called a Diversity Ambassador. Starting on this school year’s Student Council elections, the Diversity Ambassador position will be open to students who are passionate about social justice.

The truth is, we are truly defined not by what we are but by who we are.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

I am grateful to have been given the privilege to plant a seed of freedom and liberation for future leaders to grow and blossom from. A door has been opened for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, and I have great faith that you, the Titans, will continue to pass on the torch of hope and change.

Though we have come a long way, the journey towards peace and integrity is far from over, and it is my continued prayer that I would be able to speak from a voice of wisdom, a voice of understanding, a voice of tolerance, and from a voice that reminds us all that there is more that unites us than separates us.

Thank you, and May God bless us all.

All Saints Student Council Diversity Ambassador Constitution

Diversity Ambassador Mission and Vision
A Diversity Ambassador is a model student with a tolerant spirit and progressive attitude. A student who claims the position must be a shining example of how to embrace our differences and recognize the commonality among all individuals. Essentially, this platform is for leaders who aspire to become a beacon of light for a world of integrity. I hope my decision to introduce a Diversity Ambassador to the traditional structure of Student Council will instill a sense of courage in those who witness the divine spark in every human being. The truth is, we are truly defined not by what we are but by who we are.
– Christopher Torrenueva (Creator)

Duties of the Diversity Ambassador
A. Act as a spokesperson for diversity, justice, and equality within the All Saints community.
B. Serve as the liaison between Student Council and the various organizations within the school that promote social awareness (e.g. Chaplaincy, Famine, Water Walk, Development and Peace, Harmony, Colours In Unison, Black History Month, ETP, ARC, Stomping Out Stigma, Multicultural Night, etc.).
C. Attend all Student Council meetings and update executive members on diversity initiatives (e.g. fundraisers, assemblies, conferences, etc.).
D. Suggest how charitable initiatives could be incorporated into Student Council events.
E. Be responsible for the administration and maintenance of the Student Council office.
F. Maintain a grade average that meets the Provincial Standards (70% and above).
G. Upon completion of his/her term in office, the former Diversity Ambassador must make available any information to the new Diversity Ambassador that he/she requires.
H. Like all the other executive members, the Diversity Ambassador is not restricted to only one set of responsibilities. Student Council is a collective effort that benefits from the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of the entire student body.

Diversity Ambassador Presentation

Hi, I’m Christopher Torrenueva and I’m going to talk with all of you today about the new Diversity Ambassador position, which will be put into effect on this school year’s Student Council elections. When we hear the word ‘diversity,’ we usually think of diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, and colour. We often forget to include diversity in terms of gender, sexual orientation, and mental and physical capabilities. While the Diversity Ambassador celebrates the achievements and successes of various social movements for civil rights, the objective of the position is to help all people evolve in consciousness by shedding light on the best in people so that they could in return shed light on the best in others.

I want to make it clear that I am not proposing this position just to make a free pass to Student Council for myself. Rather, I am working to build a platform for a cause that is greater than myself, which would help to enforce the message of unity and equity to its fullest potential. Bullying, self-hatred, and teen suicide are just some of the many issues affecting young people that could be addressed to improve grades, boost self-esteem, and better and even save lives. After motor vehicle accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults in Canada. Teen suicide rates have tripled in the past half-century and for every committed suicide, there are an estimated 30 to 50 attempts. Among adolescents in schools across Western society, racial minorities, gays and lesbians, and the mentally ill are at the highest risk of committing suicide. For some of these teens, the feelings of self-doubt and seclusion on top of the pressure to succeed lead to suicide as a permanent solution to the pain and suffering associated with having a social stigma. The Diversity Ambassador would help to ensure that help is always available, especially through supportive family members and friends, trustful teachers and counsellors, and not-for-profit youth organizations such as Kid’s Help Phone and the Harmony Movement. But before I go into more detail about this academic endeavour, I would just like to give a brief background on myself.

Ever since I could remember, I have always tended to gravitate towards people who were ostracized, marginalized, or oppressed from the rest of society. While these people are marked with labels like the “untouchables,” the “underdogs,” and even the “losers,” I believe that the light and love of the human spirit shine so much brighter in people who break barriers to open hearts and minds. I have come to realize that this tendency stems from my compassionate nature, as well as being able to relate to people who were victimized by those who allowed ignorance and intolerance to take control of their consciousness. Thus, I get most of my energy from people who are vulnerable, but still have the will to survive. However, this does not mean that I belittle the significance of people who may be more advantaged or privileged. There is a spark to be shared and a lesson to be learned from every individual, no matter what his or her social standing may be.

My heart is filled with inspiration, motivation, and enlightenment when I learn about ordinary folks and public figures who were able to overcome adversity to become a beacon of light for the lives of those around them. My vision for the Diversity Ambassador position is that it will unfold to be not just a position, but a platform to speak to people from a voice of peace, integrity, and hope. I am dedicating this position to anyone who has ever felt invisible, inadequate, or inferior. Every person is special in his or her own way and the time has come for freedom and liberation to encircle the world for generations to come. Essentially, the goal of the Diversity Ambassador is to instill awareness, initiate action, and implement change.

December 22, 2010 Posted by | School, Social Issues | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s NOT Acceptable . . .

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Entertainment, Social Issues | | Leave a comment

Free the Children and Me to We

A global movement driven by shamelessly idealistic youth who are passionate about changing the world.

A social enterprise, a social movement, and a lifestyle.

November 12, 2010 Posted by | Social Issues | , | Leave a comment

Who’s Oprah talking to?

My very OWN message from Oprah! What an inspirational, incredible, and phenomenal woman!

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah’s Message

Image Source: http://www.people.com/people/gallery/0,,1046248_1045411_848245,00.html

September 25, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment, Spirituality | | Leave a comment

Grade 11 Religion Quote Assignment

Introduction
My presentation script below was written for my Grade 11 Religion Quote Assignment. I hope my philosophy on spiritual fulfillment will share some sense of illumination and reflect the lives of readers in order to help us all lead better lives.

Silhouette and Sun

Silhouette and Sun

The quote I selected for the Quote Assignment sheds light on homo sapiens sapiens, human beings, people, individuals, or however you want to call the most evolved life form on the planet. It lists the FIVE different ways that we humans are significant and is inspired by my own perception on the concept of humanness and great minds including Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, and Oprah Winfrey that have had a tremendous influence in shaping our world.

However, the quote I am about to share with all of you today did not just pop into my head in one sitting. It took years of adversity before I could finally stand here at this moment and hopefully provide everyone in this room with a new perspective on themselves as beacons of light that radiate happiness and enlightenment. To me, the quote I produced is not just a few words put on paper, but the five components that make up who I am, and every other individual, making us unique, special, and powerful beyond measure.

The quote is “Importance is defined by the 5 influential Is: Intelligence, Imagination, Integrity, Intuition, and Insight.”

For most of my life, I have felt inadequate, inefficient, and unimportant because I was never the brainiac that got all A-pluses, the athlete that has a shelf full of trophies, or the popular good-looking guy with blond hair and blue eyes. Most of my childhood involved moving from one school to another, and thus I was never able to truly stabilize my circle of friends or my sense of purpose.

Then, it hit me. I told myself, life is not about being the best in the world, it’s about being the best for the world. Life is a gift of existence, and you can choose to sink in a sea of shame and fear, or fly in skies of pride and courage. The truth is, not all of us are skilled experts, Olympic champions, or acclaimed as one of People’s Most Beautiful People. Still, we are all interrelated and interconnected beings that feed off of the spark within each soul and every spirit.

When I thought of this quote, I immediately realized that we are all on our own journeys with one ultimate desire. We all want to be accepted. We all want to be appreciated. We all want to be important. We can get so caught up with trying to impress others that we lose sight of what really matters. We were not put on this earth to be better than everyone else. We were given the gift of life to be our best selves, live our best lives, and fulfill our calling to serve as members of the human race.

We need each other’s intelligence to explain and understand everything that is around us. We need each other’s imagination to expand our horizons. We need each other’s integrity to make this world a better place. We need each other’s intuition to explain the unexplainable. We need each other’s insight to create a vision of hope that transcends the universe.

In my poster, a person is gazing into the distance with the sun shining on his or her face. This particular picture depicts an individual who has been awakened by the discovery of the person that he or she truly is and the path that he or she was born to lead as someone who is smart, creative, ethical, intuitive, and insightful, just like you and I.

Image Source: http://www.actionnotattraction.com/excerpt.html

August 18, 2010 Posted by | Spirituality | | Leave a comment

“Where There’s a Wall” by Joy Kogawa

Read “Where There’s a Wall” by Joy Kogawa

Verbal-Visual Comment

The poem “Where There’s a Wall” by Joy Kogawa uses imagery and symbolism to enhance the effectiveness of the poem’s message. Like most other poems, “Where There’s a Wall” contains several layers of meaning, and requires the reader to dig through the little details and examples in order to see the big picture.

One segment of the poem makes references to passageways such as “a gate” (4) and “a door” (6). The part of the poem that says “I incline in the wrong direction / a voice cries faint as in a dream” (37-38) implies that God is telling the protagonist to follow the right direction in life. Another segment mentions “rockets, bombs” (15) and “armies with trumpets / whose all at once blast / shatters the foundations” (17-19). These words describe the aggressive method to approach a problem, which is considered as “the wrong direction” (37).

Kogawa selected these words and phrases for the purpose of illustrating a more religious and peaceful method of solving a problem, as well as a more violent and aggressive method. The image of the “gates of heaven” is supposed to symbolize living a life that is devoted to God and finding the lesson that is attached to every failure. The image of the “gates of hell” is meant to symbolize how people can resort to violent conduct, thinking that they would be able to get what they want immediately.

As indicated by the yin and yang symbol, nothing on the planet earth can be regarded as just good or bad or black or white. Because of this, being a child of God without asserting one’s values to others could lead to a world of misguidance. As such, trying to be the king of the world to spread God’s love just might convert the adversity of a minority into the values of the majority.

Verbal-Visual Collage

The verbal-visual collage below is dedicated to “Where There’s a Wall,” a poem by Joy Kogawa. The collage attempts to paint a picture of two separate paths, each with a different outlook in life. This is supposed to represent the two main ways to overcome an obstacle. One way is to trust that God has a reason behind every situation and that there is always a way to surpass life’s struggles. Another way is to take drastic measures in order to make a statement and push for a change.

Gates of Heaven

Gates of Heaven

This image of a gate open to heaven’s skies symbolizes how choosing to have faith in God will transform any kind of hardship into a pathway to salvation. However, this does not mean that one cannot use force to get a message across if the situation calls for it. For example, freedom of speech and assertiveness are usually desired in the Western world to ensure that everyone is aware of each other’s state of being.

Gates of Hell

Gates of Hell

This image of a closed gate that is guarding the fires of hell symbolizes how walking down the path of sins can open the door to evilness. However, this does not mean that every human being who challenges authority or breaks the law is immoral. Social activist Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest rebels in history, dedicated his life to promote equality during a time that was desperately in need of justice.

Image Sources: http://www.owl57.com/drupal/frank-salerno
http://www.paperplanecreations.com/sets.html

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Creative Column | , , , , | Leave a comment

Imagine (Glee Cast)

“Imagine” is without question my favourite song of all time. It inspired me when John Lennon released this undeniable masterpiece, it motivated me when David Archuleta sung it on American Idol, and it gave me a new sense of hope when high school outcasts and deaf choir members performed it on Glee.

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment | , , , , | Leave a comment

I COME AS ONE, BUT I STAND AS 10, 000 TO THE 10TH POWER!

Oprah Winfrey’s NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) Hall of Fame Induction Speech in 2005. The bottom line? “I come as one, but I stand as 10, 000 to the 10th power!”

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment | , | Leave a comment

Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Watch Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).” It will make you see your life in a different light.

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment | , , | Leave a comment

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