David Huerta is the squad leader of the Storehouse of Collin County’s Youth Leadership Council. In 2016, Huerta joined the Storehouse as a volunteer before helping Storehouse Director Candace Winslow launch the YLC to engage more young volunteers.
Tell our readers about yourself.
Every time I am asked about my past and tell a little bit about myself, one word can describe my entire life, a rollercoaster. My journey began in 2002 in Caracas, Venezuela, where I grew up in one of the most dangerous places in the world called Petare. People there build brick houses on top of other houses along the side of small mountains around the city. While insecurity was at its highest, my family grew their business, and we moved along the social classes. However, by 2014 we moved to Panama City, Panama, due to economic distress and safety. This relief only lasted two and a half years since the country entered an economic recession after a new president entered office. Nevertheless, by 2016 my family had migrated to the United States, where we had slowly grown; now, this is our home. As I mentioned earlier, my life has been a rollercoaster with ups and downs, and it will continue to be interesting as new memories emerge.
How did you get involved with the Storehouse of Collin County?
In 2016, my family was a “neighbor” (client) of the Storehouse food pantry after we heard about a place where they provided food to people in need. Given our financials and short time in the country, we attended. My father, during one food distribution, asked a volunteer how I could volunteer to help others and return the massive support the Storehouse had provided us so far. The following week, I began as a Spanish Translator (knowing very little English then). I fell in love with the sense of belonging Storehouse has provided, and six years later, I still form part of their weekly operations.
How did the Youth Leadership Council come about?
Over the summer of 2020, the executive director of the Storehouse, Candice Winslow, reached out to me with an idea to create a Youth Leadership Council where students could develop leadership skills, connect with people from different schools, and contribute towards the mission of the Storehouse; all conducted by a small team where I was part of the founding committee. It has been fascinating watching the YLC grow not just in size, but we have spectacular students who are phenomenal leaders around others. We look forward to keep growing and reaching more students from different schools.
What is your role with the YLC?
My role is YLC Advisor, where I work with Ben Skye, whom I have known for over five years. He is an excellent friend who I support and look up to. We both conduct leader meetings and member meetings every month. Running the YLC involves lots of planning, budgeting, and communicating where we are both in charge.
What’s been most rewarding about your role?
My experience as a YLC advisor has been extremely valuable because watching how a conversation about a youth leadership council three years ago evolved into a program with more than 50 students from different schools is preparing them to be future leaders in our community is an amazing feeling. Knowing I form part of that development process is incredible. However, I love to dedicate my time and passion to the YLC. I see the organization expanding with more members and potentially having a broader impact on the community besides helping thousands of neighbors with food services during distributions.
What has been most challenging?
As it goes with any organization, conflicts always come up. However, space and time have been the two most challenging factors. First, YLC uses spaces from St. Andrew Methodist Church which may not always be available. Secondly, since the YLC meetings are hosted after the food distributions and given the increase in the number of neighbors, has let us start meetings almost 30 mins before the schedule. The inconsistency with the food pantry’s closure makes Ben and I have to plan for this “slack time” before the meeting.
How long have you lived in the area?
I live in Carrollton, where I have resided for over six years.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
During my time in Panama, I had a counselor/professor who saw I worked harder and faster than my classmates. Even though years have passed since this memory, I remember vividly when she said, “David, you have to be like everyone else. You cannot be better than them.” Her words motivated me to keep trying my best and have allowed me to now be a college student at The University of Texas at Dallas, a YLC advisor and staff of the Storehouse of Collin County, and last but not least, a Texas Realtor.
What are your hobbies?
A weird hobby of mine is driving. I love getting in my car and driving anywhere (when gas prices are lower). However, I also enjoy spending many hours talking with my family daily and listening to music.
What’s something about you that readers would never guess to be true?
People are shocked when I tell them, during my time in Panama, as a13-year-old, I worked at a perfume store owned by my mother, where while she was busy in another store, I was in charge of the store’s sales for the day. I was great at selling perfumes, and clients were fascinated watching a kid in the sales business. I had sales of over $100 per person, and once I was tipped a $100 bill.
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