Senior Stories: Kashmaila, An Empowered Woman


Kashmaila, a SRLA Class of 2018 graduate and Valedictorian from Carter High School, is headed to the University of California Riverside this fall to pursue her dream of becoming a Cardiologist. She shares “through SRLA, I feel like an empowered woman who can achieve anything I put my mind to.”

“You’re close to being overweight,” my doctor said to my 12 year old self. Hearing those words were my worst nightmare coming true because my grandma had obtained heart complications due to her weight. I couldn’t fathom how I let myself get into that position.


Throughout my middle school and high school career, I began to worry about my weight and felt uncomfortable about my body. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stabilize my weight and even had trouble looking into the mirror. My senior year, I heard the announcement about running 26.2 miles and asked around mainly due to the fact that I wanted to lose weight. However, once I started running and crossed the finish line at the Pasadena Half Marathon, SRLA became so much more to me than losing weight.


When I ran across the finish line, I felt like I was on Cloud 9. I realized that my health was more important than losing weight. It was about becoming fit and not conforming to society’s views of the ideal woman. As a Pakistani woman from a conservative family, I was never provided the opportunities to actually find ways to become physically active and instead found myself starving myself. With SRLA, I was introduced to a new way of living. I learned how to eat healthier and changed my diet from eating chips, ice cream, and other oily foods to nourishing my body with foods that would provide me with more energy. I also changed the eating habits of the family members in my house and now my whole household is motivated to lead a healthier lifestyle.


This program has allowed me to find a love for running and pursue staying active my whole life. In fact, the last time I went to the doctor I learned that I am in the best shape of my life. This experience is something that I would never trade and is one of the things that I will never regret. Through SRLA, I feel like an empowered woman who can achieve anything I put my mind to.


To support students like Kashmaila as they become empowered to achieve anything they put their mind to, make a donation today.