SDYS Voices

SDYS Voices: Djulia

Meet Djulia, a foster youth getting set to graduate high school and begin her college journey with the help of our Independent Living Skills program.

“My parents are from Africa where parents don’t have money to send their children to school; children stay home to do chores. My parents came to the US for education. I don’t want to waste that opportunity.

“Being a person of color means I am not meant to thrive in a society designed to make me stay down. I’ll be proving society wrong by showing I’m capable of doing something better by going to college. I want a better future for myself, don’t want to live paycheck by paycheck, and want to go back to my home country to start a non-profit that will spread to all of Africa. It took a village to get me here; I want to give back.

“My high school aims to get low-income kids to college, and has many opportunities that every student should have. My best friend and I stay on top of each other in our studies. I chose UCB because I want to be in a law environment. I want to major in political science. UCB also has a squash team. Financial aid was good. Not looking forward to adulthood. Being by yourself is not easy but good; it’s a learning process.

“I want to look back on college knowing that I did not get a big head. I want to stay rooted to my purpose and where I am from.  I want to finish school without shortcuts; knowing I stood on my own work.

“Many foster youth don’t know about resources out there and tend to reject those who help us. We have to allow people in to help us socially, emotionally and financially. We shouldn’t see ourselves as doomed. Don’t sell yourself too short. Don’t say, ‘Let me just screw around and get by.’ Foster kids come with advantages. Use the resources that are there. Be your own motivator. Find a way. Don’t just sit down. There is always more to everyone.”