SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Jocelyn Vega relies on her deep faith and family to help ease the pain she feels over the loss of her mom. How she lost her mom is almost incomprehensible, because it was Jocelyn’s own father who took her mother’s life.

“It was extremely hard for me. I had lost the person that meant the world to me,” recalled Vega. “I was an only child so my household consisted of domestic violence and my mom had to endure that by my father.”

Over the next several years, Jocelyn would juggle high school while enduring her father’s trial. He would eventually be incarcerated.

Through it all she found love and family in the arms of her mother’s sister, Silvia Vega, now Jocelyn’s adoptive mom. Silvia says Jocelyn is her angel.

“She is very happy for everything that I have accomplished by all the obstacles. And that makes me happy because it makes me feel accomplished,” explained Jocelyn of Silvia. ” It makes me feel that everything that I have been doing makes {Silvia} happy.”

Silvia and her husband were determined to give their new daughter as many opportunities as possible. On the top of their list was throwing Jocelyn a beautiful Quinceañera, complete with a special place setting reserved for Jocelyn’s mom.

“We had a chair with little like angle wings on it,” recalled Jocelyn.

Through it all Jocelyn made education her priority. She’s now a Freshman at Pitzer College, but it was an internship at a victims rights organization for women that ignited a passion in Jocelyn for helping others.

“I remember like reading case or translating documents and I would just see myself through those women,” explained Jocelyn. “I understood what they were going through.”

Now she plans on becoming a lawyer focusing on victims’ rights while keeping her mother’s memory central in her life.

“She’s what keeps me going, “said Jocelyn. “That’s what keeps me going, just knowing that she would be happy to see me striving and all the mentorship
that I have received from students rising above, all the things that I have accomplished with their help and also through my school, and everything,
I hope that she is proud of me.”