Kalisi is a Tongan woman who immigrated from Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu (AKA: Tonga, The Friendly Islands of the South Pacific). Tonga is Kalisi’s birthplace, and she considered it home until her parents moved their little family of four to San Mateo, CA when she was 9 years old. Kalisi’s parents moved to the U.S. to seek better educational futures and career opportunities for their daughters.
Kalisi received her Associate of Arts degree in Psychology at San Mateo Community College, then graduated from San Francisco State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She hopes to further her education in order to become a mental health advocate for youth. Despite the number of adversities that may have clashed with Kalisi’s goals, she loves encouraging those with similar paths to push forward believing that all goals are attainable with the right support system. Kalisi is grateful to have received a lot of support and encouragement from her loved ones and her ministry family. Kalisi wishes to do the same for those who are in need, whether it is with their mental health, achieving their goals, or immigration status.
As a Tongan Pacific Islander immigrant, Kalisi desires to raise awareness and serve those in her community who need help with their immigration status. She longs to become a voice for her Pacific Islander community and be able to give back with available resources that could benefit their immigration processes. Throughout her years in school, Kalisi has often felt restricted with what she could and could not do because of her immigration status. However, these experiences have given her the courage to want to stand and serve on behalf of those who may feel like their voices are not being heard.
As a DreamSF Fellow, Kalisi is placed with African Advocacy Network (AAN), a San Francisco-based non-profit that serves African and Afro-Caribbean immigrants. Kalisi will assist with immigration legal services, provide help with form filling, and deepen her knowledge in the legal field. Kalisi is very excited about working in the immigration legal field because this opens many opportunities for her to expand her knowledge.
During Kalisi’s free time, she loves to hang out with her family, participate in her weekly ministry activities, and try new food spots with her partner. Kalisi also enjoys watching documentaries and reading books.