By: Brooke Boyd Real Life is Youthlinc’s afterschool Refugee peer to peer mentoring program. Last year I was a Real Life Intern at the Sunnyvale location. Jile was a senior in high school who would come to the after school program. Jile and his family were refugees from Burundi and had spent several years at a refugee camp in Tanzania. Jile and his family had only lived in the United States for a few years when I met him. Not long after Jile and his family made it to the United States, Jile’s father passed away from cancer. This was devastating for the whole family. Jile and his father were close, and Jile promised his father that as the eldest child, he would help provide for his family. Because of this, Jile was super motivated to go to college. Jile would often ask me and other Youthlinc volunteers, to help him research for schools to apply for, and find scholarships that would help him pay for his schooling. Jile ended up getting accepted to a few different schools, and chose to attend Utah Valley University. He was now dedicated to finding scholarships to help him pay for his schooling. When Jile heard about the new Real Life Youthlinc Scholarship for refugees, he started working on his application right away. I was able to accompany Jile and his mother to the Youthlinc Annual Benefit where they announced that Jile was the winner of the scholarship! Jile and his mother were so happy. On the ride home Jile stated, “this is the best day of my life, a day I will never forget, I know I made my father proud.” Because of this experience with Jile, I am much more appreciative of my own education. I am grateful for the unearned privilege I have of not being a first generation college student, having English as my first language, etc. I am more aware now that others do not experience these same privileges, and experience many additional barriers when seeking to attend college. I recognize how important it is to help reduce some of these barriers for these students. Because of this, I decided to be a Real Life Intern at Sunnyvale for two years. I have recently graduated from the University of Utah with a Masters of Social Work and am working as a Clinical Social Worker.I am grateful for the positive experiences I have had through Sunnyvale, and am excited for the ones yet to come!
The Impacts of Real Life on Jile Tangishaka