Hello Friends of EYC!
I am Chhenghour, a former EYC student and the current Community Outreach Program Manager at EYC. I get to interact daily with our students and the community as I lead all of the social work, medical, dental, and sports programs across all of our schools. I’m learning a lot about management and leadership as I make a difference in the slum community where I grew up and others like it.
Since the day I took my first class at Lakeside in 2009, I have participated in almost every aspect of EYC from English and computer classes to team leadership, sports, community organizing, and scholarships. Through EYC I was able to attend a private high school for grades 11 and 12 and subsequently obtain my university degree in Environmental Science.
My parents, who went to school until 5thgrade, have worked so hard all of their lives to provide for us, and my mom has been a source of strength for not just me, but for the community. I was one of the first students at Lakeside School, and my sister and two brothers followed in my footsteps. While it is difficult for my parents to have us all in school instead of working to help support the family, they value education and appreciate how EYC has helped to change the lives and futures of their children. My mom is one of the biggest proponents of EYC and encourages all kids from the neighborhood to attend.
It is hard to find the words that fully describe how EYC has impacted my life. Without EYC I would most likely have been married with a couple of children by now. If I were lucky, I would be married to a man with some education and understanding. If I were unlucky, I would be married to an uneducated man who didn’t support me, and I would be living a life full of hardship. Instead, thanks to EYC, I have been able to build my self-confidence, pursue my education, travel to other countries, and start a career that is meaningful to me. All these things have given me greater control over my future.
I have gained so much through my experiences at EYC, and one of the most important lessons I have learned is how to be resilient. Early this year I started the process of applying to a study abroad program in the US, but I did not score high enough on the English language test. Initially, I was upset and disappointed in myself, but then I remembered that failure is part of life, and it is what we do next that matters.
Thanks to my time with EYC I have developed the skills that allow me to navigate setbacks. If things don’t turn out the way I want them to at first, there might be an even better experience out there for me, and I need to be ready to take advantage of that opportunity when it comes. I continue to practice my English, work hard for the students of EYC, and apply for other opportunities. I look forward to keeping you updated on my progress!