In Their Own Words


Glenn’s Story

“In my “BC days” (before Christ) in high school, I didn’t have any problems. Then, when I started my first year in college (in ’71) I kind of got into the experimental use of drugs, mainly marijuana and alcohol. In 1973 my cousin, one of my best friends in the whole world, was a drug dealer, and he didn’t have a driver’s license. I had a license and I had a car and he would need me to go to New York to buy drugs for him. That’s how they did it in the New Jersey area. Everybody went to New York and Harlem to get their drugs and came back to sell them. As a result of that, I started using heroin a little bit, just snorting, you know, because I didn’t have to pay for it, and finally I got to the point where I enjoyed the high…”

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Humberto’s Story

“I was born here (in Los Angeles) but had to go back to Mexico when my mother died. I lived with my grandparents in Mexico. When I grew old enough my grandpa said, ‘OK you’re big enough, so it’s time to go with your dad so that your dad can take care of you.’ So my dad brought me here and I studied in high school. In Los Angeles, like in Mexico, I was involved in music and in church choirs. That’s how I started in music…”

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Reyna’s Story

“I came here when I was thirteen. I came from Mexico City but my parents originally came from Oaxaca. My dad had been here for a long time. We found out that he was drinking and wasn’t earning enough money to support himself and us. So my mom decided that the best thing to do was to come here. When we got here we had to share a one-bedroom apartment with my cousin, which is really different than having your own house…”

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Alicia’s Story

“I first heard about the Ascending Lights program through my pastor. I was at a point in my life where I had dropped out of college. Everything was just too much. I didn’t have a support group to really coach me through it. I didn’t talk to the counselors on campus. I didn’t talk to my mom a lot about it. Consequently I ended up dropping out. I didn’t think I had a future because I didn’t know what my future was…”

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Garry’s Story

“The main experience I remember was having to go to a different high school each year and that made a big impact on my progress in school. There were a lot of things going on that caused me to get bad grades. My mother and father got divorced and my father and I kept moving. It seemed like after every semester we would be moving to somewhere else, from city to city and even across country. It was a pretty tough life. My grades weren’t really good. My GPA was like 1.5…”

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