Growing up without either of my parents and always being in “temporary households,” I’ve never had an adequate amount of support and never had the opportunity to develop strong bonds with any parental figures. I’ve become independent because I’m never had anyone to rely on. I’ve gone from one broken home to another and because of that, I’ve never really felt like I have a home. Juma Ventures is one of the first places where I’ve been accepted and respected for being me, an individual.
In other households, I’ve been ostracized for being raised in poverty and treated as a burden. It’s expected that I will only fill the shoes of my deadbeat dad. I’ve been neglected and left to look after myself. With Juma Ventures, I have people who actually care about me. Before joining Juma, I was failing classes, did not have college eligibility, and lacked drive. My Youth Development Coordinator helps make sure that I’m on top of my academic life and that I follow through on my obligations. My Juma Leadership Committee Coordinator keeps me healthy, emotionally and mentally. The rest of the Juma staff ensures that all Juma youth feel welcome, appreciated, and included. What sets Juma Ventures apart from other programs and what really makes Juma the wonderful program that it is, is the staff.
Receiving the academic, emotional, and professional support from Juma Ventures has enabled me to excel in various leadership positions, become college eligible, and earn a merit from the City Heights City Council for my efforts to improve the City Heights community. I’m now the President of the Academy for Health and Healthier Communities, the Vice President of the Asian Pacific American Club, the Correspondence Coordinator for the Juma Leadership Committee, a member of Hoover High School’s Associated Student Body, and a Team Leader for the Little Saigon Foundation. I’m also aiming to become a Youth Manager in the Juma Enterprise Program. My various leadership and peer-ship roles are a result of the drive that Juma has instilled in me to become a voice of my community and pillar of support for others.
I hope to go into the entrepreneurial field so that I can work with a team to provide a service that benefits the community, the people, and maybe even the world. Regardless of what I do or how I feel, my circumstances are the way they are and I can either let them deter me from being the amazing person that I know that I can be, or I can work with them and prove to myself, my Youth Development Coordinator, my family, and my community that I am capable of astonishing feats. With Juma Ventures, I’ve learned to work with my circumstances and become the best version of myself that I can be.
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