Students Battling Adversity

By Jill Tucker

Kimberly witnessed her mother’s murder. Al’s father has been in prison his whole life and his mom died of cancer when he was 7. Vanessa helped her mother raise seven children.

Dalvin’s dad was murdered, and his mom abandoned him. At 13, Francisco was shot in a drive-by. Imani was the sole caretaker of her blind and critically ill mother. With support and guidance from Student Rising Above, a local nonprofit, these Bay Area youth are now in college. But for many low-income and minority students who have suffered trauma as children, financial aid and good grades aren’t the biggest challenges.

College means they can escape their situation, but it also means leaving behind siblings, friends and family who are still stuck in cycles of violence, drugs and poverty.

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