I have been a part of Kid City since 2012 and received help with applying to college. I soon became close to Laura, Alma and Anne and knew I could count on them for support.
At the time, I was really stressed with the idea of applying to college and scholarships. However, every time I entered Kid City, I would feel relieved and knew everything would turn out great. I was paired with a mentor and we worked together on my personal statements. Kid City provided me with academic support and also with emotional support. Laura had us read and discuss an article about "impostor syndrome" and I related so much to it. She made me rethink my feeling of being an imposter and taught me to be more confident and take ownership of my hard work.
Since I joined Kid City, I have always tried to give back in any way. I volunteered during Splash of LA and was part of college panels. This summer I wanted to play a bigger role and decided to become a Kid City intern.
Kid City gave me the opportunity to share my passion for the arts by allowing me to teach art and creative writing classes. Through these classes, I was able to provide a space where students are able to express themselves creatively without any restrictions. I saw how relaxed the students were while painting, saw how interested they were to learn about different artists like Frida Kahlo and heard their amazing experiences through their poetry. Many of these students felt encouraged to open up to me about their interests and even asked me about my experience with Kid City during my time in high school. They all said they will return to Kid City during the fall to receive help on their personal statements.
I am happy that I was able to interact with high school students and incoming college freshman this summer and I can’t wait to hear how the new school year is treating them when I return during winter break.
Working with these students made me remember so many moments of my senior year of high school. I remembered that I too felt stressed when I thought about starting the college application process and felt excited when I started college. I am now starting my final year at UCLA and before the summer program, I felt nervous thinking about what I will do after college. After working with these students, I am now leaving the summer program feeling motivated and excited for my new journey because I will always have Kid City as a support system.
Anakaren Andrade is a Gates Millenial Scholar and a senior at UCLA. She interned in the Urban Foundation office in summer 2016. Above, she is pictured in London, which she visited summer while studying physics in Ireland.