If you take a look around our community of young people, you may see the entitled, the spoiled, the athletes, the ne’er do wells, the nerds, the brainiacs and others. J-Vibe sees those that are out there trying to break down all those walls and titles and get everyone to share the same sandbox and learn to play nice together by listening to each other while exchanging ideas without judgement. That is the community that Sarah Florence Portugal wants to build, and it’s a community that we should all want our children to live in.
Who are #VibingKids? These are kids that are in our community that are making a difference. They aren’t satisfied with the status quo and want to see change, make change and are willing to do what it takes to see that changes take place, so not only the Jewish community in Houston thrives, but the Houston community is left a better place too. This is where Sarah Florence Portugal steps in. Sarah graduated from HSPVA last year and then spent 6 months living in a migrant worker neighborhood in South Tel Aviv with ten other International kids, who like her, were there to initiate change and exchange ideas. And, if you ever listen to Sarah Florence Portugal, you will hear that her ideas are real and that she truly is one of the original #VibingKids.
From her blog, Sarah writes:
‘Smartness’ is a choice. If you don’t choose to understand the world around you that is not called stupid that is called apathy. ‘
She challenges the community to make change, which is what #VibingKids do, and we are so proud that she is our future.
Sarah Florence Portugal Shouts Out
How is Sarah Florence Portugal trying to initiate change in the Jewish community? Growing up in Bellaire, she has always thought and lived outside the box, and she is determined to bring that box to the hood she calls home. Portugal is part of a program called WITS (Writers in the Schools), where she competes on an international level in poetry slams. A poetry slam is a competition, where you get on stage and perform and then are judged on a rubric. If you make it to the semi-finals, you are put on a team, called a Meta-Four. Sarah is on such a team and won first place in her first ever slam. The Meta-Four is a team of six kids, ages 13 – 19, who compete together in slams that take place all over the city, but not in Bellaire.
Sarah is so good that recently she was was chosen to be featured at a multimedia arts event called, “The Shout” which aims to open people’s eyes to current important social issues through the platform of the arts. Sarah recognizes a need within the Jewish community and more specifically the City of Bellaire, to provide a space and platform for the arts, which will bring together people of all different socioeconomic statuses, races, and religions under one roof and under the common theme of the appreciation of poetry, storytelling, and working toward a better world. Sarah’s goal is to bring The Shout to Bellaire, and we know that she will succeed.
#VibingKids: The Future
When it comes to #VibingKids and the future of the Houston Jewish Community, we are lucky to count Sarah Florence Portugal among us. As she says so succinctly in her blog,
‘We need to celebrate ourselves and celebrate our outlooks — this is called culture.
But, if we think that the ‘helping the world become a better place’ process ends at the celebration — we need to reexamine ourselves and the roles that our communities play in bettering the world. It starts with celebration — but once we lift up each others’ opinions that we agree with — we then need to challenge them.
This is now addressing any community of people who are striving toward a better world in some shape or form : We need to become our own think tanks and not be afraid to healthily be the 1% who disagrees with the rest.’