Beyond Emancipation

Kala: Building Her Future

kala “If we let life fails us, it will. We have the choice to make who we are and build ourselves up,” says Kala.

Kala has rebounded and built herself up time and time again. Earlier this year she was assaulted and sustained a broken wrist, which prevented her from working her waitressing job. But Kala didn’t let life fail her. She got a new job as a legal assistant at a family law firm, and she says, “I love it. I have a lot of empathy for the clients and really understand what they’re going through.”

Kala herself has gone through “more foster homes than I can count,” and her “primary goal was always surviving and staying in school.” She graduated high school at 17 and while attending college and working full-time, Kala struggled with roommates, homelessness, and reunifying with her family.

Throughout her struggles, B:E helped Kala with the day-to-day so she could stay focused on her goal of education. “B:E played a huge part in helping me with the nuts and bolts, like buying my books and giving me grants and bus passes so I could get to school.”

More than just the “nuts and bolts,” Kala received one-on-one coaching that allowed her to tap into her own strength and to feel secure throughout the inevitable ups and downs of life. “Like many foster youth I was not equipped to be the best I could be in society, but B:E gave me the tools to build a sense of security in myself,” says Kala, “so I’m ready when life shows up.”

B:E believes that all young people have the skills and power to achieve their goals and build themselves up. Inspired by her new job, Kala is studying law at Laney College. She plans to pursue a 2-year paralegal program and to combine her passion for law with the biomedical engineering classes that she’s successfully completed.

For Kala, her goal right now is to finish school and secure a stable, living wage job. With help from B:E’s financial independence workshops, Kala says, “I’m starting my savings, thinking about a 401K, and financially preparing more for my future.”

B:E has been a part of Kala’s life for more than ten years. She shares, “B:E has given me a sense of family, with adults who stay in your life for a long time. It’s been part of the community that’s helped me, and it’s been the most rewarding to see how the community comes together for youth.”