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Age 20, Santa Ana

I’m shy, very caring, and a mother. I was around five when I came here from Tijuana. It was tough. We lived in a not very good neighborhood. There was a lot of arguing in my home and I didn’t feel safe. When I was nine, I was staying out until one in the morning.

Sometimes parents do their best but it’s not enough.

I was bullied in elementary school and felt like such a loser. In middle school, it was tough because I was the new kid and nobody liked me. This boy would break my pencils every day and I would have to ask for a pencil from the teacher, so I would get in trouble because I wasn’t “prepared.” That’s when I started doing drugs and drinking. By the time I was 15, I was depressed and had so much social anxiety I couldn’t leave the house and I dropped out of school. It was so bad I attempted suicide and woke up in the hospital. When I turned 17, my mom kicked me out. I lived on the streets. I tried to be good, but I violated my probation, went to juvie, and found out I was pregnant. I decided to go back to high school when I was 19, got my diploma, and tried to turn my life around.

Kids need to get out of poverty and need to know there’s a future for them.

I had an old friend who got released from jail take me to Project Kinship. They helped me with my resume and forklifting license and fill out an application for college. Right now, I’m fighting depression and feel like I don’t have anybody, but I’m happy I have Kinship. If I had found them earlier and that kind of support, my life would have been different. I would have had someone who supported me and helped heal me. 

People don’t just give up for the sake of giving up.

I want to be a better mother to my daughter. Sometimes, parents do their best but it’s not enough. Kids need to get out of poverty and need to know there’s a future for them outside of high school. My high school just wants you to graduate and only focuses on the top students, but doesn’t prepare you for anything past that. But failing school is more than just failing, there’s something going on, whether it’s on the streets or at home. People don’t just give up for the sake of giving up. It’s because they’ve gone through something and can’t find a purpose for themselves. I wish the community would open up more programs or outreach. 

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