A selfie of Jasmin Smith in a graduation gown.Jasmin Smith is proof that perseverance pays off. Smith has overcome several obstacles on her path to success, pushing through to earn an associate’s degree in sociology from San Bernardino Valley College in 2015 and a bachelor’s degree in human services from Cal State Dominguez Hills in 2021. The San Bernardino resident is now embarking on a new journey as a career transitional assistant at the Inland Empire Job Corps Center.  

“I love to help people,” Smith said. “It’s my purpose in life. I’ve been that way since I was little, and know what it’s like not having help, not having anyone understand you. You need to have somebody who can understand you, no matter what your background is.” 

While at SBVC, Smith met someone who provided her that kind of support: her mentor, CalWorks and Workforce Development Manager Shalita Tillman. They quickly formed a bond, and Tillman has been an important part of Smith’s life ever since. “We are family now,” she said.

On top of her work at the Inland Empire Job Corps Center, Smith is developing a business called Beautifully Scarred, which “helps people like myself — survivors of trauma with disabilities.” During her first semester at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Smith was run over by a car, and had to learn how to walk and talk again. “I am living proof of what you can do when you put your mind to it,” Smith said.

She faced more devastation in 2021, when she lost both her brother and sister. During hard times, Smith thinks of her 3-year-old son, who is “my everything,” she said. “He is my purpose.” She also finds solace in doing speaking engagements, sharing her story with others and encouraging them to “keep going. No matter how small your steps are, you’re still taking steps — and that’s getting you one step further from where you were.”