Growing up in an immigrant family in San Francisco’s Mission District, I constantly struggled to find my niche. Most people who I grew up with were also immigrants, or children of immigrants, but were ashamed of acknowledging that aspect of their lives.
Because of their environments, people sometimes find means of expression aren’t the healthiest. PODER for me was a means for an escape, it was my outlet to express myself completely and honestly. It was also a way of giving back. I’ve been blessed to have many people reach out a helping hand of support.
PODER’s Common Roots Youth Program came to me when I needed it most. It helped me shape my teenage identity and solidify what I wanted out of life and the world, and in turn what the world wanted from me.
If PODER hadn’t been there for me, I’d be lost as a human being and would not be making healthy decisions for myself and the people around me.