Yeona, studying Social Welfare and Spanish, is a JustJobs Scholarship finalist

cal_001When I was ten, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctors told us she had three months to live. That estimate proved to be as accurate as it was devastating. In late-March, she passed away, and that was the last time we were all together as a family.

The months following Mom’s death were a blur. My father fell into depression and lost his job; he would leave the house and not return for days. My older sister, who was in high school at that time, had to take upon a part time job to pay for rent and groceries. It became too difficult for us, so we had to move in with my aunt.

I have lived in an impoverished community. I have understood how it feels to go to bed hungry or worry about having enough money for transportation to school, all at a young age. I have seen first hand that there is a tremendous need for help in these places. At that time, I received assistance from those around me, but few realize how little they understand about the disadvantages that low-income children face. Children in these communities don’t have the support systems that others do, and this is exactly what inspired me to make a difference in children’s lives.

Currently, I am a declared social welfare major at UC Berkeley and an intended Spanish language major. I aspire to become a social worker, advocating policies that protect and support the underprivileged.  Upon graduation, I hope to attend graduate school at University of Southern California, which ranks as one of the top accredited social work graduate programs. Through its Master of Social Work program, I aspire to gain knowledge in policy practice, advocacy and program administration. Directly out of graduate school, I would like to stay in Los Angeles to work for a public agency, such as the Division of Child Protection Services. I’ve always had a passion to help the youth.

I also hope to study Spanish literature. I’ve always had a passion to help others, and it was this past year that I became interested in social work. I aspire to possibly work as a social worker and the Department of Education, using my trilingual abilities to reach out to the Korean and Spanish communities.

Not only would I be thankful to graduate with a social welfare and Spanish major, I would be grateful to let-alone graduate college. I am the first member of my family to attend college, and it will be a testament to the fact that one’s background does not determine one’s future.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be considered for this scholarship. Without the help of my father and family, I have to support myself, in terms of tuition and bills. Receiving this scholarship will make a big difference in my education, and I expect college to continue to be a journey that I embark upon with great anticipation and fervor.

We are proud to announce Yeona is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • estherkim

    Not everyone can learn positive lessons from negative experiences. Very inspiring.

  • 임믿음

    AKSY -OU-

  • Jaz

    This is truly an inspiring story behind an amazing lady. Each of her struggle reflect the journey and passion in her life.