One Youth. Infinite Hope.

Using My Life to Create Value

by Bryant Ríos-Niño
23 years old
Stamford, Conn.

I fell in love with skateboarding, yet used it only to escape life during my lowest point at age 17. I was struggling in school and was surrounded
by bad influences. I got into smoking and started rebelling against my parents.

I had grown up in a family that practices Nichiren Buddhism, and at this point, I decided to give chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo a try. As I chanted, I felt I could take responsibility for my life and discovered that my environment isn’t the reason for my unhappiness. I started cutting out bad habits and constructing a vision for myself. I wanted to use my life to create value.

Although I had dropped out of college, with this newfound determination, I re-enrolled and received financial aid, which covered all of my expenses. And, in May 2019, I graduated with my associate’s degree in graphic design.

Today, I am an elementary school English-language learner tutor and skateboard instructor. I’m striving to nurture the children I work with for the sake of the future. From my life mentor, SGI President Ikeda, I have learned that having one person who encourages you, cares about you and makes you smile is invaluable. I want to be that one person for the children I work with.