I was born in Compton, Los Angeles, California and moved to Minnesota when I was three to live with my grandparents because my pops was beating my mom. We tried moving back to Los Angeles but things didn’t work. Back in Minnesota, I had a lot of anger problems. I got kicked out of school when I was 11 and was put into a special education program. Completing the community service assigned to me through YCB really changed my life. I got off probation and started earning A’s at school. I can say I am a leader at my school and making a positive difference in the community. I never thought I would have the opportunity to give back to a community in a different country and I am really excited about that.
You could ask anyone at my school and they would tell you they are surprised that I’m not locked up. I am only 18, but I have already come a long way. I spent a year in Juvenile Detention Center and when I was put in Ms. Bowlin’s class two years ago I was facing two felonies.
After joining YCB, my attendance and grades improved. I sought out treatment for substance abuse and began separating myself from negative people. I am off probation now and I am preparing for graduation. I have work skills and all of my volunteering through YCB will help me get a job. I have never been on a plane or out of the country. I want to work for YCB after I graduate and help other kids gain control of their futures.
Before YCB I never had the opportunity to volunteer and give back to the community. I have always had a lot to be angry about. I know I have things to work on and I have started therapy.
I applied to YCB to be a school leader. I was accepted because my teachers had faith in me – they knew I would try my best and that deep down I am a leader. I can’t even explain how blessed I feel to have the opportunity to travel to another country. I never thought I would do that in my life. I want to help others and give back, to pay forward what my teachers have done for me.
The first semester of school, I missed 35 days. I had been on the run and having a tough time. I didn’t like school and I have always gotten into trouble. After I joined YCB my attendance and grades improved. I began learning about resources in the community and now I can tell people where to go if they need help with food or shelter.
Now, I feel like I have a purpose to come to school to help other people. At first I felt like I didn’t deserve to be in YCB because I still have a long way to go, but I know I am part of something big and want to prove to everyone what I can do. I am in charge of my own future.
YCB has affected my life in many helpful ways. YCB helped me branch out to receive hands on knowledge from real life sources outside of school. It has helped to give me a better understanding of jobs after school and helped me cross social borders that I hadn’t before. My biggest take away would have to be my new perspective on volunteering and work. YCB has helped me see what a volunteer job is like and has inspired me to go to these kinds of jobs in my own free time.