Garfield Senior High School

It’s okay not to be okay

My name is Ruby Grajeda and I am a 15-year-old teenage girl. I was raised and currently live in East Los Angeles. I am a sophomore at Garfield High School.

First of all, let me mention that I do not live with my mother and father. I have been living with my grandparents for over a decade now, which is most of my life. Living in East Los Angeles isn’t the best choice for two elderly people raising four kids. East Los Angeles is a dangerous community, we are surrounded by gangs, drugs, and overall bad influences.

Living in East Los Angeles has put many barriers for my family and I to overcome. One of the biggest barriers I’ve had to face is my godfather’s death in 2014. This brought a lot of mental and financial issues for my family and me. Living in an overpopulated city, buying and renting houses is expensive. My whole life, my grandparents relied on my godfather’s homes for a living. After the loss, we were living in my grandpa’s van, and were going through a tough time trying to recover from the loss. I not only lost my house but I also lost one of the loves of my life, the father figure in my life.

After overcoming this huge barrier in my life, I became a wiser and more disciplined young lady. One thing that helped me throughout my tough times was a program I joined in 2015, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Cadet Leadership Program. This program not only disciplined me but it gave me hope and something to look forward to. I not only met and made new friends, but was influenced by many amazing people.

I have gone through many hardships in my life. However, I can happily say that these hardships have shaped me to be the person I am today. From losing the father figure in my life, to being homeless, I am Ruby Grajeda and this is my story.

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