Just 12 years ago, Stella was living in war-torn Uganda, where the streets were filled with blood, civilians were killed daily, and children were abducted from their homes. Stella’s mom left her entire family and risked everything to protect her children by fleeing with them under cloak of darkness to neighboring Kenya. After four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, the United Nations settled the family in San Diego. Today, Stella’s mom works full time to support her family and inspires her daughter with her strength and resiliency.
Stella is working hard at school to achieve a better life for herself and dreams of being a psychologist one day. Hope for San Diego affiliate, Connect City Heights, paired her with a mentor in that field who is fueling her imagination and giving her practical guidance that will help her achieve her goals.
Connect City Heights workshops also address some of the obstacles facing ethnic minorities growing up in an urban context. For instance, Stella feels insecure about speaking out loud because of her Ugandan accent, which has caused her to hold back from initiating conversation, despite her outgoing personality. But after a recent workshop, Stella feels more confident, realizing that the challenges she has endured and overcome in order to learn English and adapt to the cultural norms of San Diego have made her strong, just like her mom.
Hope for San Diego supports organizations like Connect City Heights in order to help the most vulnerable in our city find their strength and grow into thriving members of our society. Please join us by investing in more students like Stella through a year-end gift to Hope for San Diego.