We are teenagers in an incarceration alternatives program in the East Village. For this project, we decided to invite local community leaders to come share their stories with us and sit for a portrait. We want our mural to show the integrity and strength that community leaders live through their work. We invited all kinds of community leaders: housing activists, educators, arts organizers, city council members, fitness experts, gardeners, and even the lady on the block who everyone talks to. Everyone who came to visit with us told their true story and shared their true face, without any mask. We were surprised to learn that many of them had faced obstacles in their youth, just like we are now, but they made their way through it. They were not ashamed of their past, and it even inspired them to have an impact on their community. Here’s what we learned: regardless of how troubled your past may have been, it doesn’t determine your future.