Jalen Williams

Last updated: 2012
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Jalen Williams

2012 Beat the Odds Honoree

As fraternal twins, Jade and Jalen Woods have always drawn strength from each other. At the age of 4, Jade and Jalen’s parents separated, forcing their mother to move the fragmented family to a shelter in Arizona. When they returned to California, Jade and Jalen were bounced between a mother and father who struggled to remain civil for the sake of their children. The divorce, the displacement, and the acrimony between their parents made focusing on school very difficult, but their strong faith and resilient spirits helped pull them through periods of great sadness and depression.

Jade is the Chairperson of the Children’s Defense Fund - California’s Youth Policy Advisory Committee. Jade and Jalen both excelled in athletics, but a broken growth plate in Jalen’s knee threatened to deter his dreams of pursuing athletics in high school. Through hard work and perseverance, Jalen worked to restore his knee. To the surprise of his doctors, Jalen’s bones healed and began to grow. To date, the star athlete has earned over 45 trophies and MVP awards for basketball. Not to be outdone, his sister Jade serves as 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 Captain of the Frederick K.C. Price School Varsity Volleyball team.

Despite a strained relationship with their father, Jade and Jalen have relied on each other and a committed network of family and community members for support. They both maintain 4.0-grade point averages and are admired for their leadership abilities. Having lost three grandparents in a short period, Jade and Jalen do not take life for granted. Each has crafted a plan for success that includes maintaining their current GPA’s and remaining at the top of their class. Through their trials, Jade and Jalen have learned “to no longer be the victim, but the victor!”

Jade and Jalen both currently maintain 4.0-grade point averages.