Joyce’s Dreams

Immigrant Student Overcomes Odds in Pursuit of Dreams

With hopes for a brighter future, Joyce and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 8 years old. Now, over a decade later, Joyce is attending a prestigious university and preparing for a career in hospitality management.

The transition to life in America was challenging for Joyce’s family. Her parents worked long hours to provide for Joyce and her sister. All of her extended family, her community, was far away. Not being able to speak English was isolating for Joyce – she struggled to make new friends. Joyce shares, “There were so many kids in school so I never felt special.”

Learning English proved to be difficult but Joyce was supported through a Think Together afterschool program that partnered with her school. Within her first month in the program, she received an award. Joyce remembers, “I felt very proud. In my home country I received lots of awards. I was a smart child.” However, Joyce doubted her skills and abilities in school upon moving to the US. Think Together provided the necessary support for Joyce to regain confidence in herself.

From a young age, Joyce knew she wanted to be successful and honor her parents’ sacrifice. Think helped her prepare for success through afterschool and summer programs. Joyce remembers a Think staff member who discussed the importance of a college degree. She described the program as “interactive ­– the idea of going to college stuck with me.”

Years later, Joyce has graduated from high school, earned three associate degrees from a local community college, and transferred to Cal Poly Pomona. She is majoring in Hospitality Management and plans on working in event management when she completes her degree. With years of experience in customer service and multiple degrees, she is well on the way towards fulfilling her dreams!

Think Together is working to change the odds for kids like Joyce. Discussing Think, Joyce shares, “Thank you so much – I never guessed the impact this program would have. Think is helping kids grow up to be leaders in the community.” Think is honored to partner with schools in helping Joyce and other students fulfill their dreams.

Dream on, Joyce!

Little schoolgirl smiling at camera