What does student poverty look like?July 15, 2022
Amalia Realizes Her College DreamJune 26, 2023
Amber’s story is one of perseverance, tenacity, and work ethic. She is a wonderful role model, an invaluable member of the Wesley House staff, and we are incredibly proud to call her a colleague.
We hope you will join us in congratulating her on creating her own positive, upwardly mobile trajectory!
I was introduced to drugs and alcohol at the age of 10 by my father and became addicted as a teenager. By the time I was 12 years old I began to run away from home and spent most of my years thereafter institutionalized in behavioral camps, group homes, homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers, and correctional facilities. The abuse didn’t stop when I lived in these institutions. Instead, I learned how to adapt to receiving the abuse from different people, even those of authority.
I believed education was not an option for me because I was unaware of a different way to live. I started to break unhealthy patterns and made a decision not to use drugs while incarcerated in 2015-2016. This gave me a clear mind and the opportunity to take some classes, focusing on higher education. I enrolled in San Diego City College and received my associate degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling Studies as well as Sociology before transferring to San Diego State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
When I moved into Wesley House I gained access to wrap-around services that have been helping me succeed in my academic journey. Some of these services include access to the food pantry, for which I was in need due to the recent rise of the cost of living and food prices. Also, if it wasn’t for their affordable housing, I would spend a majority of my time focused on finding a safe and stable living environment as opposed to concentrating on my studies. Their onsite social worker is a bonus and really comes in handy for many things, related to both academics as well as referrals for other community resources. Wesley House provides me with much needed support, especially as a single mother of a teenage daughter trying to juggle a full-time courseload. The environment has also encouraged my daughter to follow in my footsteps; she is now driven to attend an Ivy League school.
I was recently admitted to the Master of Social Work program at CSU San Marcos where I will continue my education. Once I graduate, I plan to use both my Criminal Justice degree & Social Work degree towards obtaining a career as a Correctional Social Worker or a Social Worker working in higher education.