Cyrus – Age 21

August 4th, 2008

I left home at 17 to work and live on my own to help my mom, a single mom, pay for the rent and raise my two brothers.  I struggled through community college full time while working full time at local restaurants to make enough for my rent and send the rest to my mom in Norcal.  I jumped from job to job because my school schedule was not flexible for work, sleeping 2-3 hours a day and sweating the rest.  My older brother passed away from an accident during this time of struggle which lead me to work and study even harder, it pushed me to become the man that I want to be and should be.  I finally made it to UCSD where I took clinical psychology and eventually worked for UCSD’s Cancer Center as a smoking cessation counselor, making enough to finally buy a car, pay for rent and have plenty left for my family.  I was finally able to move back home where now I am able to help and support my mom and younger brother.

David – Age 21

April 4th, 2008

I worked at a spray shop and saw how unhealthy the conditions were for workers so I decided to go to school to get a degree in health science.  When I am finished, I could work for the county, OSHA or be a health inspector and shut down places like the spray shop I used to work at.

Saddif – Age 22

April 4th, 2008

When I was 13, I moved here from Pakistan.  My parents were educated in Pakistan but it only translates to a 9th grade education here.  My older sister is extremely smart and pursuing a career as a heart surgeon at UC Davis Medical School.  She is always encouraging me and my younger sister to get more education.  I started studying at a community college to be an English teacher but it was really hard for me since English is not my first language.  So I decided to follow in my sister’s footsteps and get into the medical field as a dental assistant.

Taka – Age 28

April 4th, 2008

I moved to the United States when I was 24 years old from Japan.  I got a job as a teaching assistant but I was most passionate about the medical field.  So I looked into nursing and the waiting list was too long.  But I learned about the dental assisting program at community college and thought that was a good way to get some skills.  It is a one year A.S. degree program that will launch me into the medical field.  

Courtney – Age 29

April 4th, 2008

I have been in construction my whole life but I got to a point that I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to advance anymore in the field without going back to school.  I didn’t want to plateau and get stuck at a lower level so I needed to get more skills.  I am not good at the whole school thing but I really wanted to advance my career.  I am studying construction management at a community college and plan to transfer to a four year university.  My goal is to get into sustainable development because it is the future of construction.  The coolest thing about construction is working all day, stepping back, seeing walls up and knowing that I just built this.

Kristen – Age 19

April 4th, 2008

I grew up in San Jose, CA and when I was a kid and didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career.  I started going to community college in Modesto when I graduated high school and thought I wanted to be a nurse.  My counselor sat down with me to do an educational plan and I realized I was going to have to take a lot of math and science classes which were not my favorite.  At that time, my counselor’s mother passed away and the hospital staff didn’t speak English and had trouble communicating it to the family.  After I heard about that, I decided to study Spanish and be an interpreter.  Some people ask me why I want to study Spanish when I already know it but just because I can speak and write it doesn’t mean that I know all the grammar.  I am learning a lot every day in my classes and my experience in community college has been very rewarding.

LaDereka – Age 18

April 4th, 2008

I am enrolled in the Cosmetology program at Sacramento City College learning about hair, nails, and skin care so that I can get a job renting a station at a hair salon.  I love my teachers because they make it fun and I like learning about hair!  I wanted to be a teacher when I was a kid but now I want to do hair because I get to show my creativity.  The program I am in is great because it is cheaper than going with a private beauty college.  The only thing that sucks is that the days are long.  Classes are 5 days a week from 2:30-10:30pm for 10 months (3 semesters).  Some of my friends in the class like the hours because they work and some take care of their kids.