RAISE A VOICE: Cristoffer’s “Driver’s Ed”

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Each year, 826LA partners with one Los Angeles public school for the Young Authors’ Book Project (YABP). Volunteers work with students for several weeks to write pieces around a central theme. The annual Young Authors’ Book Project engages students at one high school in every aspect of writing, editing, and publishing. In Through the Same Halls: Journeys of Elders Born and Raised in South Central and Beyond, students interviewed and wrote about the people who shaped their families and community.



“Because my family showed me the value of coming together, I will show this to my family someday.”

— from “Driver’s Ed” by Cristoffer A.

What my elders and I have in common is that we like traditions and celebrate holidays…. One of those traditions is called Semana Santa. We would travel to another city to celebrate, and all of our family would gather. We brought breads that we loved. Because my family showed me the value of coming together, I will show this to my family someday….

My grandfather is seventy-eight years old, and he was born in Guatemala in Huehuetenango. He is my grandpa. He is a very strict person…but he is also very understanding. When he taught me how to drive the car, he had a lot of patience with me. He was the one who raised me and taught me many things that could help me in life. One of the things he always told me is “Always learn to do everything, because you don’t know when it’ll help you.” One of those things he taught me was how to sow corn and how to sow cucumbers. I liked that he taught me how to raise cows. He had more than thirty animals, and I liked to go in the afternoons to see the animals….

I asked, “What did you do when you were a boy?” He said, “I spent my time working hard, and when I started to study, it was more difficult for me because I had to get up at four in the morning and I finished at seven. Then I went to school and when I came back, I had to go back to work.”

I finished up by asking, “How did you spend your free time?” He said, “When I had free time, I played soccer with the family and friends I had, and I played with wooden toys. It wasn’t much, but I was very happy.”

About the Author

Cristoffer A. was born in Guatemala. This is his second time publishing with 826LA; he was first published in Rhythm Runs Through Our Veins, a book exploring cultural roots and memory. He works as a painter, and he believes in preserving family traditions.

The views expressed in this book are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of 826LA. We support student publishing and are thrilled you are reading this text. Purchase Through the Same Halls in stores and online at the Time Travel Mart here.

Help students like Cristoffer gain the tools they need to write their futures: Support 826LA’s free writing and tutoring programs for students in under-resourced communities. Donate today, and amplify the voices of tomorrow.

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