Kapri Tulang-De Silva, a junior at the University of San Diego (USD), is an active and engaged leader committed to creating positive social change in education. Through USD’s Youth Engagement Initiative (YEI), Kapri serves as a coordinator where she currently mentors and tutors some of San Diego’s most marginalized youth. Kapri’s commitment, compassion, and work-ethic over the years has elevated her from the role of classroom tutor to a now significant leadership position among her peers. Before USD, Kapri worked primarily in her home state of Hawaii to preserve taro patches, a native indigenous practice, along with the Special Olympics. Now a Junior, Kapri’s rare and valuable background and commitment to social justice and community engagement have landed her opportunities with the Rachel’s Night Shelter, Make-A-Wish, Cool Kids clubs and the YEI Tutoring Program. Kapri also leads the People of the Islands Club as President. Although her involvement as a civically engaged leader at USD has been widespread, Kapri has no intention of slowing down any time soon. On the heels of her Senior year, Kapri intends to pursue a law degree, following her Master’s in Education, in order to continue advocating for equity and justice in systematically oppressed communities.
The lack of services for the homeless and access to high standard education for underprivileged youth, the ostracization of persons with disabilities, and the disregard for cultural land significance are prevalent problems in my home state of Hawaii that motivate me to pursue positive change in these areas. I worked to culturally preserve Hawaiian taro patches, volunteered with Special Olympics to foster dignity for those with disabilities, served homeless meals at IHS Hawaii and parish food drives, and made comfort boxes for HI Children’s Justice Center. My commitment to social justice and community engagement also led me to serve San Diego’s marginalized communities at Rachel’s Night Shelter, Make-A-Wish Club, and Youth Engagement Initiative Tutor Program. I believe the lack of shelter and education can critically cripple one's potential for success, however, given the right aid, one can be empowered to overcome challenges. I endeavor to use a psychology and law degree to legally examine more effective ways to handle cases germane to one’s homelessness. Specialty courts specifically designed to combat homelessness can replace existing court processes that perpetuate recidivism. Creating mandatory supplemental reading and vocabulary building programs to build critical reading and comprehension can raise academic standards for underprivileged youth.