One Youth. Infinite Hope.

‘Each of Us Is the Source of Change in Our Society’

How Michael Silvestre became proactive toward overcoming his problems.

Photo by Mark Engelhaupt


by Michael Silvestre
33 years old
Overland Park, Kan.

In high school, I struggled with depression and tried to commit suicide. My brother began dragging me to SGI meetings, and I felt stronger and more hopeful through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Instead of just complaining about my problems, I became proactive toward overcoming them.

In 2009, the year I received the Gohonzon, I came out as gay to my family. This had been the biggest challenge of my life, because I felt like there was no one I could talk to and was afraid that my family would be upset. But chanting and studying Ikeda Sensei’s words reassured me that everything would be OK, and to my surprise, my family wholeheartedly supported me.

Today, I couldn’t be more thrilled about life. I’m happily married to my husband, Mark, and pursuing my dream of art as either a teacher or gallery manager.

Awakening to my mission as a Bodhisattva of the Earth, I’ve realized that each of us is the source of change in our society. That’s why it is so important that our generation helps others dispel the negativity from their hearts and see the strength and limitless potential within them.