Student Speaker

Elvia M. Ayala


My name is Elvia M. Ayala and I am 36 years old. I was born in East Los Angeles, California and raised in South Los Angeles. I have 3 siblings and I am the second child. My mother’s name is Martha, she was born in Tijuana, Baja California, but was raised in Guadalajara, Mexico; my father’s name is Marino, he was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. As a child, I was very shy, as I had difficulty learning and speaking English. I dropped out of Fremont High School, because at the age of 17 I became a single mother and was also a domestic violence survivor. However, I never gave up. I attended Thomas Riley High School, and then transferred to Maxine Waters Employment Center. After receiving my high school diploma, I enrolled at East Los Angeles College to pursue my career in Administration of Justice. My dream was to become a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department to make a change in domestic violence cases. Although I was disqualified due to my early-age mistake, I did not stop. I continued my path to help others. I wanted to better my life so that I can provide for my son and family. So, I decided to return to ELAC to finish my A.A. in Administration of Justice, but I changed my major to Psychology. East Los Angeles College, along with my son’s, my family’s, and my professors’ support and guidance, has helped me tremendously to build my confidence.

I am currently working at Starview Behavioral Health Group as a Parent Partner. I have 14 years of experience working as a mental health provider. After many years, and being depressed about not becoming a police officer, I realized that my calling was to help others by providing families with mental health services (emotional support, parenting, communication skills, and how to navigate the Department Children Family Services system). I love to interact with diverse people, facilitate parent support groups, and lead domestic violence classes.

I have overcome every challenge in my life by not losing my faith in God and by committing myself to become a better person every day. I am receiving my A.A. in Psychology and Administration of Justice from East Los Angeles College. I will be transferring to California State University, Dominguez Hills in Fall 2022 to continue my education. My future academic plans are to receive my B.A. and M.A. in Psychology and to have my own private practice to treat individuals with past traumas, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.