Silvia Monvalvo and her family have lived in the affordable housing development of San Antonio Vista in Montclair for more than 10 years. It is a tight knit community where families are watching their children excel in school and go on to higher education. For Silvia, it was a dream come to true when her daughter Karina was accepted to Cal State Fullerton and started school in the fall of 2017.

Neither Silvia nor her husband were able to finish high school, let alone attend college, but it is something they wanted for their daughter. “Every day I tell my daughter how proud I am of her,” said Silvia, “and I encourage her to take advantage of every opportunity. I want her to be independent, to have a great job, and not have to struggle the way my husband and I have.

Over the years, Silvia watched her daughter blossom from a shy, young girl to a confident student, due in part to Hope through Housing’s after-school program offered at San Antonio Vista. The program offers so many elements that help children succeed in school and beyond. Even though Karina will acknowledge that it was great having help with her homework, her best memories of the program are the enrichment activities, such as art projects, cooking classes and dance clubs. Karina says that the social skills she learned in the after-school program are now invaluable to her in college.

Silvia and her family could not be more proud. When not in class or studying, Karina can be found helping her little sister and cousin with their homework. Wanting to give back to the community that has given her so much, Karina is pursuing a tutoring job at her old school. “Karina is a great example of what is possible,” said Chris Paez, Senior Community Manager and San Antonio Vista. “She is a great role model for the children who live here.”