Introducing Logan

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Release Date: 
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Logan Montel began her service in Pima County, Arizona in August. Read on to hear how her childhood and college experiences prepared her to serve.

My name is Logan Montel, and I was born in Ceba, Puerto Rico in 1998. Both of my parents were in the Navy (that’s how they met), and after getting stationed in Puerto Rico, my dad decided he’d get out and find whatever job he could while my mom continued to serve. Just under a year after I was born, we moved to San Antonio and then moved across the ocean to Italy and Germany for 3 years each. We moved to Virginia after being overseas and I was happy to stay close to the water.

From 3rd grade to college, my dad and I lived in the same house, the house my mom picked out by herself before we moved back to the States. It became just me and my dad after my mom passed away from lung and brain cancer halfway through my 6th grade year, exactly one month after her 43rd birthday and 23 days before my 12th birthday. Simply, my life was never the same. At first it was really difficult, and my brain still protects me from the trauma, as I don’t really remember the next two years following her death, except for big events. But as time went on, my dad and I began to figure out the thing that worked for us, which was ultimately soccer.

My dad invested all of his time in driving me to soccer practice, games, private sessions, etc. And it didn’t matter where they were, my dad was always there on the sidelines cheering me on. He has always been my best friend but going to college and playing soccer really brought us together. He knows how hard it is to accept defeat, and he was always there to comfort me. The first two years of college soccer were great, but the last two weren’t. Ankle surgery kept me out of my junior year, and concerns over brain health kept me out my senior year. Now the thing I’d invested all my time in from 3rd grade till college was no longer the thing that made me happy -- just depressed. After finding a counselor on campus to have therapy sessions with, I began to feel a shift within myself and what I wanted.

As a double major in Communications and Sociology: Criminology focus, I’ve always been pessimistic towards the system we live in and how it propels some forward while putting others down. The hardships and trauma I’ve experienced have shaped me into a very independent and resilient person who has always been okay with being the loudest mouth or the harshest critic, because not everyone can do it -- it’s something about amplifying the voices of people who are vulnerable or constantly ignored or kept out of mainstream news and policies. “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” -- it’s not the individual link's fault that it’s weak, it’s the machine that designed/manufactured it. That’s how I think about our democratic system and the people benefiting from the system that designed and implemented it.

My work as a VISTA I can only hope will narrow down the avenues I can take to help restructure our system that is causing more pain than joy to its citizens. I hope that I can learn and become familiar with the trial process and laws governing the process. Mass incarceration is one of the worst parts of our system, and the longer we continue to funnel large numbers of people through the system, the more power our corrupt laws, policies, and politicians have over us. As a VISTA in a public defender’s office, I’ll be interacting with clients that the system has targeted and deemed not valuable to society, and I hope that by hearing their experiences and working with them in a professional setting that I’ll be able to come up with solutions to make their time dealing with the system more manageable and successful. The system we’ve allowed ourselves to be ruled by is undergoing more and more scrutiny as time goes on and eventually, hopefully soon, the weakest link in the system will be exposed and the chains will break. The last few months of living through a pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, a presidential election, climate change, and more, has given me the inspiration I needed coming out of college to want to work towards change in whatever little ways possible -- as the little changes and actions will lead to big upsets and overthrows. COVID-19 has placed everyone in unforeseen circumstances and the impact it will have on my service is yet to be determined. I’m thankful to be working on site with my colleagues and using this time to research and identify resources/services that will help my community regarding housing, homelessness, mental health, education, substance abuse treatment, and more.