When Sophia stepped onto the campus of UC Davis last fall, she realized just how far she’d come from her early days at Girls Inc. of Alameda County.
Growing up, Sophia had a lot of adult responsibilities but not a lot of emotional support at home. Frustrated, she would bottle up her feelings thinking they weren’t worth sharing. But Girls Inc. helped Sophia step outside her comfort zone and discover another side of herself.
For eight years, Girls Inc. provided an outlet for Sophia to find her voice, push past limits, and make a difference in her community.
Sophia credits her mentor, Ms. Jasmine, with helping her increase her self confidence and belief in her abilities. “When I would share something positive that happened that day, she would always hype me up. Like, “That’s awesome. How amazing!” It was such a great feeling. She was always so supportive and open.”
Over time, Sophia learned to not let her fears hold her back. She discovered her passion for breakdancing and skateboarding. She got involved in a social action club at her school, and through Girls Inc. had the opportunity to intern at Hip-Hop for Change where she took part in community service projects in underserved communities.
“These opportunities and experiences showed me that I was powerful — and that I didn’t have to be limited by the expectations of others.”
Sophia would like to build a career that allows her to help people solve and cope with their everyday problems. One path she’s considering is social work.
“If I was my 10-year old self, I would not be able to recognize the young woman I am today. I’m so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned at Girls Inc. and who I’ve become.”