East Palo Alto native returns to teach at nonprofit that once inspired her

 

It is surprising how quickly one can find herself between the haves and have-nots while strolling around the Bay Area.

Income disparity is not a new problem to the United States, but it can be harder to spot in Silicon Valley. People flock to the sprawling Facebook headquarters, luxurious Googleplex and beautiful Stanford campus, but in the process, they often overlook the area directly east of Highway 101 and the tree-shaded mansions of Palo Alto: East Palo Alto (EPA).

In the past, EPA experienced widespread crime and poverty. It even had the highest homicide rate in the country in 1992. Today, one can still find high crime rates, more high school drop-outs and widespread poverty. In these rough conditions, children suffer the most. They often struggle to keep up in school with their peers across the bridge, and they may face significant challenges at school and at home.

Many nonprofits have student outreach programs to provide the support EPA youth need to succeed in school. One such nonprofit actively providing these children with hope and a future is Bayshore Christian Ministries (BCM). The video above is the success story of Waniya Bryant, a woman who grew up with BCM and chose to return to help the children of today who are growing up in conditions similar to her own.