Tameka Carter, an US Advisory Council member and alumna, came to US as a young student, homeless and with few opportunities for a way out. Now, Tameka is a Program Coordinator at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, having graduated from Cal State Long Beach in 2006. Tameka has a passion for the arts and seeing youth realize their potential and worth.
Jey Rojas overcame many struggles including bullying. Jey found their voice and felt an immediate change. Click HERE to learn more about Jey’s experience with US.
We met Duc Ta at Central Juvenile Hall in 2000, when he helped write and perform the play “Far Away From Home” in our program. He was facing adult time in prison and was released after fifteen years. In prison, he obtained his college degree and vowed to himself that when he got out he would create an organization to serve Asian Pacific Islanders who were currently or previously incarcerated. Following his release, Duc worked with Amity Foundation Teaching and Therapeutic Communities to assist newly released Three Strikers in finding jobs and housing and graduated top of his class from the LA Kitchen Culinary Program with an internship at the Bazaar in Beverly Hills. Duc then stepped away from the culinary world to co-found his own non-profit, API RISE (Asian Pacific Islander Reentry and Inclusion through Support and Empowerment). When asked what advice he would give to other US participants, he stressed the importance of authenticity and pride. “Really go into this being authentically who you are,” he said. “Do not be ashamed of who you are, and do not be ashamed of what you might share or what you might expose about yourself. Just embrace it. Embrace who you are.”