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When Amani got her B.A. in urban studies and planning from Cal State Northridge, she was the first in her family to graduate from college. She came home to Northern California and started working as a youth development coach with Juma Ventures. There she helped other young people from lower-income homes prepare for college, which included referring them to Hebrew Free Loan for interest-free student loans.

Amani’s dream was to go to graduate school and build her skills as an advocate for low-income communities of color, but she was worried she couldn’t afford it. That’s when she turned to Hebrew Free Loan. With our help, she enrolled in a master’s program in public policy at Portland State University, and two years later earned a post-graduate degree.

“It was hard to ask for help — I work in social justice and I like to be a giver. I learned that I don’t always have to be the one investing in others. Hebrew Free Loan helped me accept that it’s okay to let others invest in me too.”

Amani now works as Assistant Director of Data and Curriculum at Emerging Leaders, where she matches underrepresented college students with paid summer internships at top companies. She’s always been passionate about education and youth of color, and she’s discovered a new passion for using data to measure impact. As she has throughout her career, Amani is developing her own leadership skills at the same time she helps others to build theirs. She gets tremendous satisfaction from working in community with people who share her values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“I was considering not going to graduate school, because of the cost. If Hebrew Free Loan hadn’t offered me an interest-free loan that made it manageable, I wouldn’t have this job that I love today.”

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