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IMG_2569“Living here [at Azusa Apartments] has given me opportunities that I would not have had somewhere else…I would not be as involved in my city and helping others.” – Melissa

Growing up, Melissa often struggled in school. The oldest of three, Melissa found it difficult to find assistance with her homework at home. She did not have tutoring or reading programs available to her like her younger siblings do now. She’s glad that today her younger siblings won’t have to experience the same challenges as she did.

In 2013, Community HousingWorks (CHW) bought the Azusa Apartments community and prevented that community from being converted to market-rate housing, potentially displacing families like Melissa’s. After purchasing the apartment community, CHW maintained the affordable rents and made substantial renovations, including the addition of a new Learning Center fully equipped with a computer lab, learning resources, and an onsite staff coordinator.

Today as a senior in high school, Melissa feels passionately that she has benefited greatly from the resources and opportunities available in the Learning Center. She joined CHW’s Achievers program, where she was invited to be part of the distinguished Mayor’s Council, an organization formed by the City of Azusa focused on equipping young leaders with skills and opportunities for civic engagement. The group meets once a month to discuss different leadership topics and is currently formulating strategies to address the prevalent homelessness issue in Azusa. As an Achiever, Melissa also volunteers her time as a tutor in the Learning Center and helps with other special projects and events.

Melissa has big plans for the future. After she graduates high school (with honors) this year, she plans to complete her general education at Citrus College and transfer to a university to complete her studies and reach her goal of becoming a registered nurse. She strives towards becoming a nurse because she loves science and helping others. Once Melissa begins working as a nurse, she plans to help her parents purchase a home of their own. Melissa sees a bright future ahead. She says,” I want to achieve my goals in order to give back to my family all that they have given to me.”

Learn more about our Achievers program.