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Age 16, Long Beach

I’m a 16-year-old from Long Beach. I’m mixed- I represent and come from the Cambodian & Puerto Rican community. I joined Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) to discover who I am and connect with other people from my Cambodian community. KGA has helped me tremendously, being a part of this program has kept me out of trouble and reminds me every day that I am bright and that I am important. It made me realize that I don’t have to be like my brothers and sisters and go down a certain path. KGA helps me find connections with people who are going through similar situations that low- income, youth of color face. The community at KGA makes me feel good about myself because I feel like I have people to lean on.

I’m thankful for KGA for so many reasons – KGA makes me feel like my voice matters and gives me the confidence to tell my own story. My story is never acknowledged as much in school or in everyday life – but in this specific program, my story is valued and shared with others just like me. I know that I don’t have to be portrayed a certain way, and that makes me feel empowered and gives me the confidence I need as a leader.

Being in KGA makes me feel excited about my future and there are lots of things I look forward to. My ambitions are to graduate on time and to find myself leading work within my community. But the main thing I want to do is connect with people and help people. Knowing people in my life who had to go through the court system at a young age inspires me to uplift their voice and to let them know they are important. I think one of the best ways for me to help is to be a lawyer and stand up for what’s right.

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