I’ve lived in a city called Encino my whole life. It’s a beautiful suburb in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California. Encino is about a medium-sized city, but it’s always felt small and homey to me. I’ve always loved my hometown because it has always felt like a safe place and I’ve had many opportunities while growing up. I was able to take dance, gymnastics, karate, and piano classes from the local Community Center, and when I was little, I went to summer camp at the same Community Center. Later on, I became a counselor-in-training and volunteered at their festivals and dances set up for the community. I think the Encino Community Center is the most important place because it’s like a second home to me and the hub of Encino. My brother and I have spent the last 15 years taking classes and volunteering there, and have made many friends. The center was where I had my first dance class and fell in love with dancing so much, which led to my dream, at the time, of becoming a professional dancer.
One thing most people think about Encino is that it’s filled with wealthy people, but it’s mostly just filled with middle class families and very few wealthy. Most of the wealthy people are actually celebrities. From my experience growing up in Encino, I’ve realized that they’re a lot of celebrities living here. I’ve met actors like Harry Hamlin and Tori Spelling and I’ve seen singers like Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. My mom also met and had a conversation with the famous actor and singer, David Hasselhoff, in line at a Subway near our house. It’s amazing the people you meet here who are just living like the rest of us and making their own family. Encino is a great city and a great, safe place to grow up in. I hope to stay here in the future and start my own family someday in this community.