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Our Youth . . . with Bernadette Angeles: Developmental Asset No. 10 — Safety in a Neighborhood

Published in the April 12 – April 25, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Bernadette Angeles

Bernadette Angeles

I’ve lived in four different places in my life so far. When I was born, I lived in San Francisco with my parents and my grandma. To be honest, I don’t remember much because we only lived there for a year. All I know was that the city was always busy and full of life. Looking back at all the pictures of us there, it seemed like a cozy and comforting place to live. Although it was promising to live in such a big city, my parents decided to move to San Jose.

It was the rise of Silicon Valley and my parents were able to get jobs working in city hall. We moved to a small neighborhood in East San Jose and everything seemed great. I went to a good school and a couple years later, my sister was born. We were all one happy family but good memories can only last so long.

There were at least three separate incidents where our neighborhood no longer posed as a safe community. One incident happened really late in the night. Everyone was sound asleep except my mother. For some reason, she had trouble sleeping and was walking downstairs to get a glass of water. She noticed there was something bright in the backyard and the closer she looked through the window, she realized it was a fire. She called 911 and everything was settled. They weren’t completely sure what caused the fire but they guessed it was simply a lit cigarette that got thrown over the fence. That incident was the first and my parents were worried about something as simple as a cigarette being able to cause a fire but relieved that it wasn’t anything too serious.

The second incident happened maybe a few years later and it was also quite late at night. Some people were outside throwing chairs at my dad’s car. My dad called 911 and they were arrested. Apparently, there was some party going on a block down and they were heavily intoxicated.

The third incident was similar with someone breaking into the car late at night. After all three of these incidents, my parents knew we could no longer stay in this neighborhood, especially with another baby sister on the way.
At the time, I was quite upset because I knew our neighbors well and I didn’t want to move away. I didn’t fully understand why we had to move. My parents only told my sister and I that we needed a bigger place. Yet we moved to an apartment in South San Jose. I didn’t ask too many questions. They told us it would be a “temporary living space” and that we would find a real place to live in soon. Well, we lived there for five years. Not as temporary as I thought, but as I grew up, I forgot about the troubles of our old place and focused on my family and school. Our neighborhood was very safe because for one thing, we lived across the street from a hospital. Either way, I was happy but my parents wanted to fulfill that promise.

After five years of living in that apartment, we moved to a small suburban neighborhood in Morgan Hill. It was new housing and we lived across from the mountains.

We’ve been living here for more than a year now. My family is very happy with it. Although the commute is rough sometimes because my sisters and I still go to school in San Jose, it is worth it.

I’m grateful for living in a safe neighborhood now and being able to focus on things that truly matter. Safety within any community allows a person to concentrate on things that are important to them and allows them to truly grow as an individual.

Bernadette Angeles is a 16-year-old junior at Presentation High School. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing and hiking and is a member of the Youth Action Council.