Youth speaker Michael Cuestas spoke to Doyle Junior High students about the importance of making positive decisions. Cuestas also spoke at Westside Junior High and Albany Middle School, sponsored by the Livingston Parish school system's Family Resource Center.

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LIVINGSTON –“Don’t let life happen by chance, but make it happen by choice,” youth speaker Michael Cuestas told Doyle Junior High students recently.

Cuestas wove together advice about life, music and his own struggles to relay the importance of making positive choices in life.

He shared personal experiences on peer pressure, overcoming struggles and making positive decisions when facing difficult challenges.

The Livingston Parish school system’s Family Resource Center sponsored Cuestas’ presentation at Doyle Junior High, Westside Junior High and Albany Middle School.

“We had the unique opportunity of sharing Michael’s message with a large number of our students,” said family educator Jennifer Rabalais, who directs the Family Resource Center.

“He connects with preteens and teens in a very special way, and he encourages them to be greater than their circumstances. It’s a message that many of our youth need to hear in this day and time,” Rabalais said.

Cuestas outlined his personal story of poverty, growing up without a father and being homeless and how he earned a bachelor’s degree in business and has worked for six Fortune 500 companies.

The Minnesota resident also worked as vice president of information technology at an investment firm.

“Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’’’ Cuestas asked the students.

Bad things don’t just happen to good people, the youth speaker said, they happen to everyone.

Life isn’t about the bad things that happen, it’s about how we respond and react to them, he said.

“Our response is going to determine the path our life takes. When life knocks us down we have two choices – give up or get up,” Cuestas said.

The Family Resource Center provides resources to assist and support families with their children’s education. It offers teachers, workshops and training and access to parenting classes and tutoring services.

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