Essay by Scholarship Recipient Joshua Williams: 
Question: In what way has living and growing up in South Los Angeles impacted your life?

I grew up in an environment where poverty, drugs, alcohol and gang violence have a strong presence. My family was poor and my parents would always argue, drink, do drugs and get into fights. As a result, my sisters had no one to look up to or to learn from. So, I decided that if they can learn from anyone or go to anyone, it’s me. I understood their situation, struggle, and headaches. They saw me as a father figure who would help them with school, teach them new things, and help them when they were in need of help. Taking care of my siblings has helped me to learn responsibility, integrity, and confidence. Even though they depend on me a lot to take care of them and guide them, if it wasn’t for them, I would never have a true purpose in life. 


For a majority of my life, my parents were not able to take are of my siblings and I. Just a few years ago, my sisters and I became foster youth. In the beginning, I was concerned about what life was going to be like. I was confused about what my future may be like. Thankfully, our current godmother Ms. Hill took me and my sisters in. Living with my godmother has shown me that life is full of hardships, but if I don’t move forward, it will only get harder. I now know that I don’t have to be like my parents. I can be someone better who can make a difference, change lives, and be successful. My hardships is what keeps me motivated to be an outstanding scholar. Life isn’t always fair, but if you sit in sorrow, nothing will ever come to you if you just sit there and wait for life to get better. 


It was through the help of wrap around, and ITSP (Independent Living Program) that I learned of the many resources, and useful tips of helping me on my way to college. As I became a TAY (Transitional Age Youth) I was introduced to the Independent Living Program; at the time I didn’t know much; whether that be on saving money, learning the values of credit, and how to gain a driver’s license. But it was with their help that I learned these thing, and where I can go to ask for help or resources to help me pay for college, clothes, and housing. There aren’t’many people who learn of benefits like this and I am grateful being introduced to ITSP. I can say that they helped me see the true importance of being an adult, and the knowledge that I need to work, and live in the world today. 

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