AFH Photo // Adam Nguyen
Sixteen-year-old Gaelle Hercules, from TechBoston Academy, says that she knew what do when someone stole her friend’s phone during the school year and she had an idea who the culprit was. 
“I spoke up and helped my friend get her phone back,” she says. 
They say that there are leaders and there are followers. 
For teens, the truth often comes to light when trouble strikes: Do you intervene to help solves things or just stand on the sidelines? 
Jonathan Villace, 18, who goes to school in Dorchester, says he’s happy to pitch in. 
“It benefits me at the end,” he says. 
Aminata Sheriff, 17, from TechBoston Academy, says she stepped forward after learning that something bad had gone down even though there was later blowback directed her way. 
“I didn’t care about the consequences,” she says. 

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AFH Photo // Darryl Richards
Living in East Boston, a neighborhood filled with friends who share similar experiences, allows Jennifer Castillo’s background to be in the forefront of her life. 
“Relating to other people makes it fun to embrace my culture,” says Castillo, 16, who notes that being Salvadoran, she primarily speaks Spanish at home. 
Many young people say they feel the strain of adapting to America without disregarding their roots. Nonetheless, teens raised with their cultures embedded into their everyday routines say they are confident in knowing who they are. 
For 16-year-old Selina Li, of South Boston, it took a while. 
“I wanted to be accepted and normal but now that I’m older I can understand how to embrace who I am and create my own identity and not let society define who I am,” says Li, who is Chinese- American. 
Fifteen-year-old Imani Mulrain, of Dorchester, says it’s sometimes hard to seize both her Dominican and Trinidadian sides. 
“I don’t know Spanish so it’s kind of embarrassing to be with my other Hispanic friends,” she says. 
Meanwhile, Mulrain says that she stays in tune with her Trinidadian heritage by playing the steel pans. 
“My entire family is from Trinidad and I am the only one born in America,” she says. “and so I try to do stuff that makes me feel connected to my family.” 

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AFH Photo // Corina Li
Viena Arias, 17, from Boston Community Leadership Academy, explains her formula for a healthy relationship. 
“When you both respect and value each other enough to put the other person before yourself,” she says, “and you’re always trying to make sure that the other person is safe and comfortable in the relationship.” 
Jessica Sanchez, 16, from Boston Latin School, would add these ingredients to the mix: 
“Support. Knowing how to fix problems without arguing.” 
For 17-year-old Derrick Obanor, from Dorchester, a solid partnership can withstand major disruptions, including constant instigating on social-media. 
“Even if they have their ups and downs” he says, “they are still able to find a solution to making the relationship better.” 

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AFH Photo // Casey Hudson
Miguel Marte, 16, and Rachelle Bodden, 16, are what you would call a fairy-tale couple. For they are always lovey-dovey and have been dating for, at the most recent count, nine months and three days. 
They know almost everything about each other and have even considered a future together 10 years from now. They both believe in real love and say that they have faced some difficulties but have always overcome them. 
“Love can be defined in so many ways and found in many places,” says Bodden, “but it just takes that one person to feel complete.” 
Many say that romance is dead. 
Not so! 
Kiara Jimenez, 16, from Dorchester, believes in the existence of love even if it can’t be scientifically proven. 
Love is trusting, she says, but also feeling safe with that special person. 
Jimenez is currently dating a boy named JR. It’s almost their 10-month anniversary, but they can already see themselves in several years with a dog and two kids -- a boy and a girl. 
Jimenez says there’s no hurry. 
“At the end of it all.” she says, “the person you really need will come when you least expect it.” 
Isaiah Smith, 17, from Roxbury, isn’t wasting his time trying to find his partner yet. He believes in love and the feeling of caring, wanting, and appreciating another person. 
But after being in an unrequited relationship last year, he says, he decided to think more seriously about his future and the fact that school needs him to be in control of his emotions. 
“Remember who you choose,” says Smith, “because the wrong love is [an] unhealthy one. 

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AFH Photo // Archibaldo Soto
Amiya Stephney knows how to be simply happy. 
“Some things that makes me happy, for example, are the little things from a friend or family member,” says the 16-year-old, from Hyde Park. 
For many teens, finding happiness can be a frustrating pursuit. Others, though, feel that they’ve hit upon the answer. 
“Opportunity makes me happy,” says Kaishaun Bleech, 17, from Dorchester. “Life has so much to offer” 
Lynelle Clervil, 17, from Dorchester, says that breaking into laughter brings her joy. 
She believes that everyone deserves to smile consistently. 
“Without happiness,” she says, “someone would just grow bitter and miserable.” 
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