In their own words Star Student

Tyesa Harvey is Working Toward her Ph.D. in Sociology

"I decided I would save myself for the sake of my children’s future. I had no work experience, no skills, no home, and no money. Just two newborns and a resilience not to turn back."

In September of 2015, in a Hollywood hotel room, shortly after giving birth to my toddler twins, I made a decision with my life. My decision was to not allow my children to witness an unstable lifestyle filled with trauma. I left a seventeen-year trafficking situation and decided I would save myself for the sake of my children’s future.

Things were not easy in the beginning, because at age 30 I had no work experience, no skills, no home, and no money. Just two newborns and a resilience not to turn back. After one year of being homeless, I was finally stable and able to work on my educational goal. My educational goal while at Santa Monica College is to receive my associates and transfer to a four-year college. I plan to keep going to until I receive my Ph.D. in Sociology. My career goal is to create a trauma informed curriculum for programs to assist families that have dealt with generational trauma.

The CalWORKs program has been a huge support system to all my educational, emotional, and mental health needs.

Through the CalWORKs program I am assisted with classroom materials, advice as to what path to take to reach my career goals, and even a listening ear and support system when I have had personal problems. In addition to school I have been involved in a survivor leadership program called Resilient Voices, and the National Survivor Network. In these programs I have been very vocal about my experience of being trafficked for all of my teenage years, and most of my adult years, using my personal testimony to educate and raise awareness about the issues of domestic sex-trafficking and generational trauma.

My volunteer work and speaking engagements have included, speaking at Saddleback Church Human trafficking symposium, FBI 1st annual African American and Hispanic Human Trafficking Workshop, being featured in Palomar College’s upcoming documentary Shattered Dreams, and a host of local trauma focused, and trafficking focused form. I appreciate the CalWORKs program for advocating for me in my educational goals and providing me the opportunity to further my personal goals through education, by opening their doors.

Bette Davis fan, obsessive crocheter, roaster of beets, maker of home-made horchata, USC MPA, CalWORKs Director, lover of South Pasadena, writer, mother, founder of Slothuary.

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