Over the five years that I was incarcerated, I felt confused and often dehumanized. After dropping out of my gang, life became a daily struggle to survive. In no way was my incarceration an environment of rehabilitation. In fact, some even called our facility "gladiator school," because of the harsh treatments we faced daily.
In a season focused on gratitude, 17-year-old Monica Chica has an attitude about choosing to be grateful that's wise far beyond her years: "The most important lesson I learned is that being happy is not about having with you what you loved in the past, but learning to love what you have in the present."