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I loved working with Pivotal because there was no judgment and I never felt like they labeled me a victim. Pivotal has helped me stay resilient by encouraging me to always keep going and to keep looking forward, no matter where I am.

My mom passed down her love of learning to me. When we were growing up, she pushed us to pursue higher education but the realities of making ends meet in the Bay Area made it tough. My brother dropped out of high school his senior year, my sister graduated but started working immediately after, and my mom was trying to pursue a cosmetology degree while providing for us.

Seeing my whole family struggle made me think, ‘I don’t want to be struggling.’ Education and what you’re learning in the classroom is the base to everything else you want to do. I knew I couldn’t let things distract me and had to stay focused on school. I entered the foster care system as a sophomore in high school when my mom passed away unexpectedly and there was no family who could take me in. Over the next three years, I moved numerous times from school to school and had a total of seven housing placements.

I persevered through high school, and after graduating, I was awarded a Pivotal scholarship to attend Skyline College. With the support and guidance I received from Pivotal, along with other programs such as the Independent Living Program (ILP), I set my sights on attending a four-year university.

This fall, I began my studies at UC Santa Barbara where I hope to major in communications. It’s been a tough road but I’ve built up a ton of resilience. I’m confident in myself and I know I can get good grades and do what I put my mind to.