Karen

 

karenh

Age: 36 years old

Marital Status: Married

Occupation: Pediatric Physical Therapist

Do you have children? My husband and I have a 9 year old son, and are in the process of adopting another 6 year old son.

How long have you lived in Pomona? We have lived in Pomona since 2006, so it’s been 8 years.

What brought you here? My husband and I were challenged by bible studies (at the previous church we attended) to understand what it really means to love the poor, especially since it is a subject Jesus is so passionate about. My husband’s second cousin, Tom Hsieh, was living here with his wife and involved in some organizations that were working in the social justice circle, targeting the underprivileged in the inner city of Pomona.  We checked it out and felt like there was so much we could learn from a community of people at First Presbyterian Church of Pomona, who had intentionally chosen to live alongside their neighbors in order to better learn what it means. We decided we needed to plant our roots here as well!

What is the best thing about living in Pomona? I love how life just feels ‘real’ to me here!

Where are your favorite places to be in Pomona? Eating at authentic and down home, family-run restaurants like Guasalmex!

What is the worst thing about living here? It is definitely hard to deal with the violence that seeps into the neighborhood, and the corruptness of city politics.

Can you talk about one significant event that happened during your time in Pomona?  I was able to work with local neighbors to speak to city officials to influence some development plans and make it better and safer for the neighborhood. It was empowering and what I hope more people in this city come to feel.

How has living in Pomona changed you? It makes me realize that life is bigger than just me and my problems, and that’s a good thing to be reminded of! I have enjoyed being challenged and stretched constantly in the way that I am living my life and learning how to trust in Jesus for all the things that are bigger than me. My family and I have made choices that are hard, but rewarding by relying on God.

How have you changed Pomona? I’ve been able to be a part of an organization called Pomona Hope, which works to transform the city’s families and neighborhoods by offering parenting classes, tutoring programs, after-school homework help, and college preparedness classes. They have also been able to bring neighborhoods together to be be part of a community garden and work towards making the neighborhood safer. This organization has definitely changed pieces of Pomona for the better, and I hope I’ve made an impact alongside them.

Pomona’s city motto is “Vibrant, Safe and Beautiful”.  What motto would you choose for Pomona? Although I personally feel safe living in Pomona, I know that is not what the general perception of Pomona is.   I hope that it will be in the future. I do see Vibrance and Beauty around me living here that I don’t think you get to see if you don’t!

.com plug: www.pomonahope.org, www.guasalmex.com

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