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Featured Friday – Shirley’s Story

by Featured Friday | 1 year ago

As a social worker, I choose to see courage and resiliency every day. I see it in the people I meet. Each person has a rich history and story to tell. Histories of pain, heartache, vulnerability, love, and transformation. Each story is valuable and through them, we connect. I connect with people for a living and relish every moment of it.

My why is very simple—I believe in the healing power of storytelling.

My community is full of storytellers. The Bay Area has a distinctive culture due to its diversity and multiculturalism. It is full of inspiration drawn from cultural richness. My neighbors speak different languages, celebrate different traditions, and hold different customs. The exchanges between my neighbors and I always teach me something new. However, there is one factor that deepens our relationships—the need to belong and call this place home. It bonds us despite our differences.

The uniqueness of each culture has instilled a curiosity and love for people. Even as a young girl, I vividly remember my neighbors sharing stories about their travels to the U.S. and the loved ones they left behind. They spoke about traditions and folklore tales. It is when I fell in love with storytelling. I also learned that their lives weren’t so simple. The difficulties of adjusting to a culture made them homesick, yet led them to reach out to people around them. It is through uncomfortableness that they created new lives and new stories that we share together now. Their resilience inspires me.

Having a positive impact on someone’s life redirects their narrative. It empowers, instills hope, and most importantly makes them feel connected; a sense of belonging.



Shirley is a 28-year-old, San Francisco Bay Area native. She currently serves the Bay Area as social worker at nonprofit by the name of Family and Children Services of Silicon Valley, a division of Caminar.