“The Cambodian genocide did major damage, caused several hardships and made families relocate to areas they had to adapt to. The priority was making sure your family was safe even if it meant leaving everything behind: family, education, businesses, finances, and personal property. When you come to America as a refugee, you and your family have nothing, therefore you try to make something out of nothing. And that’s the ultimate motivation.
I am a young Cambodian girl who grew up in the low income neighborhood of Hunter’s Point, San Francisco. I’ve always had to work hard for anything I’ve ever wanted. I am sure there are many young Cambodians who strive to better themselves as well as to be a positive role model to others. My parents didn’t have it well like most other parents and I am not ashamed because they are the ones who taught me to be who I am today. There were times I wanted to drop out of high school because I wanted to work and help my family. When I graduated from high school, I had no plan, no guidance. I remember visiting City College the day before school started to apply for classes and take my college prerequisite tests.
Like many youth who are conflicted with choosing either school or money, I chose both. I was accepted and was able to complete my units to transfer to San Francisco State University. Although it was challenging to maintain a full-time job and school schedule, I eventually earned my Bachelors of Science Degree in Health Education. My experiences prepared me with my current employment as a health professional at San Francisco General Hospital. On the side, I am my own entrepreneur with ItWorks, a health wellness company.
Take that first step and keep moving forward regardless of how rough the road may be. You are destined to be where ever your mind and strength pushes you to.”
In her own words by Vee Chhith
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