My Story: Mya Santigao

“My Zoo is a sanctuary of happiness.”

Mya Santiago, ZooTeen Leader, East Irondequoit High School, class of 2018

I have come to the Seneca Park Zoo since before I could walk. I was raised by a single mom, so my grandma and grandpa helped raise me, and they brought me to the Zoo just about every day. They instilled a lot of my values in me.

My grandpa always taught me that things I want in life can happen if you work for them. So when my mom told me about the ZooTeen program, I knew I wanted to apply. Now I’ve been doing it for three years. I love educating people, and if they just learn one little thing about our animals and their conservation, I feel great.

Being a ZooTeen has helped me grow as a person, giving me an ability to talk to many different types of people. I’ve even had some ZooCampers who have come back and apply for the ZooTeen program because of things they learned from ME! That makes me feel great.

After high school? I really hope to get into Cornell for their Veterinary Program. I want to be a wildlife veterinarian.

Being a ZooTeen has helped me grow as a person.

Programs like ZooTeens, ZooCamps, and the ZooMobile create opportunities for young people in our community to not only learn about animals and conservation, but to learn about themselves.