Anthony’s parents fled Civil War in South Sudan and relocated to a refugee camp in Uganda, where he was born and spent most of his life. At the age of 14, his family moved to America in search of greater opportunities, as there were limited jobs available to refugees in the area. As a teenager coming to a new country, very far from home, friends and familiarity, Anthony had a difficult time adjusting to his new life.
He remembers the first two weeks were filled with tears, loneliness, and extreme worry that he would not make any friends or find a group where he belongs. He started as a high school freshman in City Heights and within a month was introduced to UPAC’s Youth Business Enterprise Group. During the program, Anthony learned about starting his own business and participated in multiple community service events. His favorite part of the 6-week program was giving back to his own community by feeding the homeless and participating in neighborhood clean-ups.
After his cohort ended, Anthony realized UPAC was the place he belonged. He felt part of a family and knew that staying engaged with the organization would keep him out of trouble and away from the wrong crowd. Throughout high school, he stayed involved in UPAC’s programming, became best friends with many of his fellow UPAC youth, and was hired to work at the Neighborhood Enterprise Center in 2018. In addition to working at the center, Anthony is currently pursuing a degree in Sociology and hopes to one day use his life experiences to uplift his community. Eventually, he would love to go back to Africa and start an organization that inspires and empowers local youth.