Even if you are from the same neighborhood as someone else, you might still be coming from different places. Where you are from is a complicated question and it elicits complicated, but interesting and thought-provoking responses. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Josh Pridemore | Hair Salon Owner/Stylist and Entrepreneur

I was born in a small, small town in Oklahoma. We moved around a lot as a kid. We settled in Phoenix around 1989. Most of my time I spent in Phoenix. We moved around a lot to different states. I attended many different schools within the same school year at times. My mom can’t read or write. She wasn’t sent to school as a child. Drugs took over my dads life and he quit working when I was 16. My sister and I were checked out of school and we were homeless. I worked full time to pay for motels, or we slept in parks or wherever we could when I couldn’t pay for motels. I enrolled back into school the following year. My dream was always to attend a university. I did take classes later at community college, but my family situation worsened and I did not have the opportunity to finish and get a degree. I decided the only way to get where I wanted was to work as hard as I could. When we were homeless I couldn’t afford a haircut so I leaned how to cut my own hair. Read more>>

Tosha Tharp-Gaitanis | Founder/CEO/Autism Mom

I was born in El Mirage, Arizona, and lived there until I moved to the East Valley in my mid-twenties. My father was a Children’s Minister, and as a teenager, I worked with children from all walks of life. Using my creativity, I assisted in various activities, including puppet skits and games, even going so far as to put a pie in my dad’s face without getting into trouble! The highlight of any child’s life! I went on to teach Sunday school and truly loved working with younger kids, and during high school, I was very active in Key Club, where I learned about leadership and about giving back to the community. Entering the workforce, I taught a Pharmacy Technician Program at a vocational college, relishing the opportunity to find new ways of inspiring my students before I was appointed Director of Career Services there. It was my responsibility to prepare our students for the final step in their educational journey – externship — by matching them with the facilities that best suited their needs. Then, once they graduated, we helped them find positions in their chosen fields. Read more>>

Priya Desai | Clinical Research Project Manager & Event Planner

I am South Asian by birth. I was born in New Delhi, India and moved to Chingola, Zambia when I was 3 months old, where my father was an expat at the copper mines. We then moved to Obuasi, Ghana when I was 4 years old where my father worked in the Gold mines. I grew up with my parents and a younger sister in a home full of love and laughter. We were also taught by my mother, a teacher by profession, at an early age, the meaning of giving back, being kind, honest and the importance of serving the community. We travelled the world including frequent visits to India where I learned everything I know and celebrate about my culture. During this time I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to complete a big part of my education in England where I graduated from High School. We then decided to immigrate to the United States in 2000 and became proud citizens in 2008. I grew up experiencing different cultures, meeting people from different backgrounds, learning languages, celebrating numerous holidays and developing life long friendships and memories along the way. Read more>>