My name is Jocelyn. I am 18 years old. I am the oldest of four. Growing up was difficult for my family and I. I am first generation in this country and my parents were born in Mexico. Despite my parents coming from another country, they work hard to raise my family.

My youngest brother, Diego, was one year old when we moved to Mutual Housing at River Garden. We moved because we were living in a two-bedroom house. There were six of us; so that meant that I was sharing a room with my three siblings and it was crowded. Our old place was isolated, I knew who my neighbors were, but I didn’t really talk to them. It was also nearby train tracks and it would get very loud at times. Often the noise woke me at night, and it was hard to complete my homework assignments.

Once I moved to Mutual Housing I remember building a close friendship with my neighbor, making other new friends in the community, and being more interactive with other neighbors. I was no longer feeling lonely, our living space increased, and my parents were visibly happy seeing my siblings and I bond with our peers. It helps that a lot of the activities within Mutual Housing at River Garden such as Thanksgiving celebrations, ice cream socials, National Night Out, and movie nights are held outside in the common area and are really inviting.

My parents also made the decision to move to Mutual Housing at River Garden because it was much closer to elementary school for my sister and brothers. My parents know how important school is for us, and being closer to school and bus routes has made it easier for us to get there. We each have a deep thirst for learning. After getting settled each of us have also engaged with additional supports within Mutual Housing at River Garden to help us achieve our academic goals.

Mutual Housing community organizers and staff partner organization, The Greenhouse, mentor kids in a way that will make them leaders. The Greenhouse is an innovative community enrichment center hosted by Mutual Housing at River Garden that inspires youth to grow to their full potential. At home, we only speak Spanish, and it’s nice to collaborate and communicate with college students and Greenhouse staff. They are very supportive when it comes to education, college, scholarships, leadership skills, and learning. I’ve noticed that my little sister, Adriana, is very advanced for her age in a good way because she has been around college students and social workers.

I am now the first in my family to go to college as a first year student at Sacramento State University. My parents have always been supportive with our education. They value education, responsibility, meaningful work, and change. They encourage us and want us to pursue a higher education that they wanted but couldn’t have. Mutual Housing California empowers my parents to continue supporting my education goals. Having a safe and stable place to grow up continues to help me realize my goals to attend college and explore engineering.

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