Banking on a Bright Future:
Kianjrah’s story

by Rachel Trujillo

Growing up. Kianjrah’s mother struggled with addiction and her father was never in her life. When she was 13, Kianjrah and her 11 siblings were taken and placed in the foster care system for a brief time before their grandparents took guardianship. As the oldest of 12 children, Kianjrah always took a motherly role in the household, helping her grandparents as much as she could, including picking up her siblings from school and taking them to appointments.

Kianjrah started working at 16 and always took on two jobs simultaneously. She didn’t focus on her future or passions, but rather on getting a paycheck. “I just knew that I wanted to make money to get out of my situation,” she shared.

Through San Diego State University, Kianjrah engaged in Guardian Scholars, a program that supports former foster youth and other opportunity youth along their educational journeys. Through Guardian Scholars, she learned about Just in Time for Foster Youth and all the resources offered. She soon began taking part in our services and her relationship with money and employment started to change.

“I was a participant in Financial Fitness and that helped me realize I like finance and banking. When I was ready to get started in a career, I knew that was the direction to go,” said Kianjrah. She also met with JIT staff member Sanam to talk about her career trajectory. “With the help of Sanam and telling her my interests, she helped me figure out my path. She also really helped me come out of my shell and get more involved,” said Kianjrah.

Recently, Kianjrah started working for Chase, first as a bank teller, but soon gaining more responsibilities as an Associate Banker. She’s also the branch’s “culture champion,” making sure everyone feels included and is represented. She’s even taking on an advocacy role for disadvantaged youth, including working on building a partnership between Chase and JIT’s Financial Fitness service. She is in her final semester at SDSU and aspires to continue down her path in the financial world, eventually becoming a financial advisor.

“With the Just in Tine community, I’ve become open with my story,” shared Kianjrah. “Now I’m really open sharing that with people… not only am I advocating for myself, but those people who don’t have the resources to network like I do. The fact that I can be a part of helping other JIT participants makes me so happy. I know it’s going to be beneficial for them.”