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Michaela Pereira Optimist Advisory Board Member
Where Are They Now? Sasha Gomez, Optimist Alumni

When I arrived at Optimist’s Van Nuys Group Home in 2001 at the
age of 14, I had no clue what was going on. I was traumatized. I
felt alone, abandoned, and frightened. I remember this experience
like it was yesterday, truly feeling alone, as if my life had no purpose.

I was twelve when my parents divorced. This was a time when I
needed them to hear me the most. There was always strife in the
home, and one day it got much worse. After an enormous fight, I
was the only one of my siblings to be sent away.

My feelings of abandonment turned into anger. This continuous anger built a wall so high I
couldn’t climb over and escape from it. I left Optimist in 2002 and my life remained
tumultuous for some time. Fortunately, my anger eventually subsided and I was able to
focus enough to graduate high school in 2005.                      
                                                                                                                  Read More