Roberto Valdez, Poet, Youth Advocate, and Board Member of Medicine Wheel was a strong voice for the untold stories of the countless young men and women who have worked at Medicine Wheel. In 2011 he set up the Scholarship fund to help other young people tell their untold stories. He had the brilliant idea to ask 300 donors to make a simple donation of just $10.00. allowing us to take one of these young people on our annual artistic retreat to Italy.
Roberto met many obstacles along the road, poverty, addiction, sexuality, self-esteem, and homelessness among them. We are all so “delicately balanced” as he says. On November 29, 2016 one day after his 27th birthday Roberto passed away, claimed by his addiction. His story is not finished however.
Please consider making a $10.00 or more donation, to the Valdez Scholarship Fund. Checks can be made payable to Medicine Wheel Productions, 100 K Street, South Boston, MA 02127. Or donate online at:
Angel Danilo Esturban I am just a Guatemalan Dominican kid from Boston who was shy. Growing up was hard. I’m talking about: not knowing my mother for the first 6 years of my life; being lead poisoned and having brain damage. It was always a challenge for me. I was always afraid of being who I am and to just live free. I grew up in Jamaica plain, Franklin Field and South Boston’s D Street projects. Moving was always difficult. You know the feeling of meeting new people and leaving your friends behind for a new life. I never understood the reasons why my mother was not around so much but it was because she was poor and couldn’t afford rent. That’s where the system, I call the DSS, came into our lives. Being separated never crossed my mind, it was more like a break from my mother and brother and sisters but I knew something wasn’t right. Why we couldn’t go back after that first week and switching schools was just confusing and something new. Until I reach the age of 8 and figured out the meaning behind not being home with mom and siblings. I understood I was in a foster home, but it didn’t see much as a foster home since it was my aunt that took me in instead of some random non family member strangers taking me in, so I was comfortable with the idea but still didn’t know why I couldn’t go that easy. Later I find out my mother couldn’t pay rent because my father basically ran off, and made his own new family. Plus she couldn’t speak English so it was hard for her to get a job. In September 2002 my dad passed away. I was only 6 years old 2 weeks away from my birthday. We had things planned but I guess life is just full of mysteries. After that I always had a black cloud over my head knowing my dad was gone and a fat kid and not living with my mom messed me up made me want to always be on my own.
My godparents used too buy a lot clothes instead of toys so that’s when I knew I had a thing for styles and clothing. To me it was fun l getting my first polo shirt and Levi jeans also Fubu and Hilfiger tracksuits. It was like opening a new power ranger toy on Christmas. My passion for fashion was there from the start watching rap music videos and pop videos trying to mix the styles together all in one but I was afraid of showing my ideas because I was already getting bullied and didn’t want to make myself look more like a freak than I already was …plus I didn’t have the money to get the clothes I wanted but that all changed.
When I was 13 years old I was back in Southie selling drugs and getting high so, I had an advantage to buy new clothes which I did. At the same time I was in middle school. That’s when my love for fashion opened up even more I was more free and was able to get the clothes I needed .. I was wearing skinny jeans and got backlash for it ppl used to call me gay and other bad names I will not say. It was painful and made depressed but made me anger as well so I continued to wear more skinny jeans and show off my amazing outfits to the world I was finally free! I started to get in trouble and wanted to stay out of trouble so my second oldest sister had told me about a program more like my sanctuary the medicine wheel brought me to a world I never thought I would imagine coming across such as amazing people who filled my heart with love and warmth. The energy was already there at MWP. Michael made me realize there is so much to life then just living it. He taught me how to be me how to be free how to be the person I always hid. After leaving MWP I Continued with my fashion end up making clothes and also art. I feel like I need to reach out to others and talk more about myself in person so people can understand where I’m coming from and basically there is a lot of stuff missing but I want to tell my story on my clothing and art
Peace and love is what we need
from one Angel to another