Mihaylo College 2020 graduate Yolanda Lambarena (entertainment and hospitality management) rose from an upbringing marred by abuse and addiction to achieve a better life as a hardworking college student with dreams of a career in the movie or sports fields.
When walking in her neighborhood as a 7-year-old girl in the northeast Los Angeles town of Highland Park, Yolanda Lambarena was first confronted with the harsh reality that defined her home life – crack cocaine abuse.
“I passed by this alley on my way home from school, and I passed this man with a small object in his left hand and a lighter in his right hand. I didn’t know what this alley man was doing lighting this small object, but to my child mind, it wasn’t good,” recalled Lambarena in a July 23 interview with Community Keynotes, a podcast by Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD), featuring inspirational thought leaders. “Imagine how I felt when I found similar objects in my dad’s jacket. I was scared, and I was worried that my dad was going to end up looking like that alley man.”
In an attempt to keep her father from a similar fate, the young Lambarena would try to break or hide the crack pipes she would find, which would result in her enraged father physically and emotionally abusing her. Read More