Catching Up With Ken

Thank you for transforming our Youth’s Lives!

Remember Ken?  He is a former Leaders for Education, Advocacy and Democracy (LEAD) program student who shared how the program changed his life at AACI’s 2015 Better Together gala. We met up with him recently and were delighted to hear his life has continued to change for the best!

If you recall when he told his story in 2015, Ken had stopped living with his mother as a child and growing up, he struggled with feelings of loneliness and even suicide.

Through LEAD, Ken was given an internship and a mentor named Edwin Tan, (Edwin later became AACI’s Director of Advocacy and Development!J), who he is still very close to today. Ken appreciates having someone he can go to and get advice from when he wants to discuss personal issues or school and career-related questions.  “My mentor gave me an opportunity to learn. Relationships take time. Our relationship is unique, it went from a mentorship to a friendship. Thanks to Edwin, I realized there is meaning behind the word “commitment”.”

After high school, Ken moved to Georgia for college. He just transferred two months ago to the University of Pennsylvania for his sophomore year to study Computational Biology. “My first year of college was a big year of growth. I was in a nursing program but I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do. My Computational Biology major brings all of my interests and skills together. Nobody wants to plan a transfer, but I’ve taken what I learned from LEAD: to trust myself and be my best advocate.” said Ken.

Today, Ken is still involved with LEAD, and continues to give back to the program that was life-changing for him.

“I am so glad LEAD is still running strong,” Ken added. “I attended trainings recently and really connected with the youth since I attended the program myself. I like to express gratitude. I had a lot of help along the way and I know things are better accomplished together.”