I was about to turn 15 when Juma’s enterprise manager came to my homeroom asking students if we wanted to work at AT&T Park. I was excited about the prospect of becoming a vendor at the San Francisco Giants baseball games and so I attended the mandatory session at Juma’s headquarters office.


Initially, I thought it was just about getting a job. But when they started talking about how
Juma could help us with financial literacy and saving up for college and provide mentorship, I thought a person like me really needs to be in a place like this.I had just transferred to Galileo High School. I was bullied at my previous school, was
timid and shy, and for the most part, I kept to myself. Through Juma, I learned how to make friends with the right people, how to think for myself, how to study and how to set goals. I didn’t have a lot of goals for myself before because I didn’t think the way I think now. Being around positive people definitely helps to change your mindset.

Juma staff inspired me to pursue opportunities I would not have tried otherwise. With encouragement from my mentor and tutor, I applied for a chemistry internship at UCSF my junior year, and was one of only 20 students from the Bay area to be accepted. I was paired with a post-doctoral student and we conducted an experiment to test the effectiveness of an antibody on skin fibrosis. At the end of the 8-week program, friends and family were invited to attend my poster presentation. When they heard me talking about science, they couldn’t believe it was me. I felt like I made them really proud.

This fall, I’ll begin my freshman year at the California State University, Los Angeles. I’ll be the first in my family to attend a 4-year college and it still feels like a dream. It’s scary because there is no one in my family who can relate to it but it’s also exciting because I get to do what I want to and figure it out on my own.

I’m still not sure about my major but I know that I will graduate and go on to do something to help people. I know how it feels to be alone and not have help. When you start thinking about other people, it makes you feel happier, and you know you have a purpose.


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