Peaceful was born in a Burmese Refugee Camp in Thailand and resided there until age 11. In search of a better life, her family sought refuge in America, landing in the City Heights Neighborhood of San Diego. Peaceful describes her experience of coming to the US as extremely hard. She knew no English, left all her friends, and was experiencing an identity crisis between her Burmese roots, Thailand upbringing, and new American lifestyle. In school, she was often bullied and picked on for her lack of English proficiency and different cultural beliefs. In high school, Peaceful was introduced to UPAC’s Alliance for Community Empowerment Program and joined one of our Youth Business Enterprise Cohorts. Instantly, she felt a sense of community. A majority of the youth in the program were also refugees, so there was no reason to be ashamed of her language skills or cultural differences. After the six-week cohort ended, she was eager to stay involved, as a large part of the group was giving back to the community, which she greatly enjoyed. The classes also helped her understand what it means to start your own business and taught her valuable work skills. Peaceful has continued her involvement with UPAC and was hired to work at UPAC’s Neighborhood Enterprise Center (NEC) in 2018 as a Café Associate. Since starting her employment, Peaceful has grown tremendously, mentored fellow youth, and recently received a promotion to Facilities Lead in the Fall of 2020. This promotion includes new roles and responsibilities that are expanding her administrative and leadership skill sets. By providing the youth who work at NEC with a flexible schedule, Peaceful can work in a meaningful job environment, while pursuing her Bachelor's degree. After graduation, she intends to work in juvenile probation, helping inspire and change the lives of at-risk youth, something she has already begun through working at the Center.