I am so grateful for the huge impact The Anaheim Achieves Afterschool program at the Anaheim Family YMCA has had on my life. I practically grew up in the Anaheim Achieves program starting at age 7. Coming into the program, I was a quiet, reserved kid with a short attention span. My life at home was not the most stable. I was living with a single mother who at one time drank, often moving me from one place to another. Financial hardships even temporarily led us to homelessness.
A constant and consistent support in my life was Anaheim Achieves. I knew I would be surrounded by people who cared, as soon as the school bell rang. I didn’t have to worry about who would pick me up after school and could just focus on doing my homework and having fun with my friends.
The Anaheim Achieves program leaders give each student one-on-one attention and individually assess their academic and social needs. The leaders took their time helping me through homework problems and explaining things to me. Concepts became easier for me; I learned how to work hard and focus. Soon, my grades went up. Constantly having a person looking over my shoulder encouraged me to try my best. Having someone who believed in me and showed me what was possible gave me the confidence to accomplish more and set higher goals. I have excelled academically and recently received the Golden Apple Outstanding Student of the Year Award.
Anaheim Achieves has taught me the value of serving others and given me volunteer opportunities. Now I’m helping other kids reach their full potential. I volunteer as a Junior Leader at the Anaheim Family YMCA weeklong camp for kids ages 7-12. I also volunteer with American Family Housing, a nonprofit organization that provides resources to help the homeless achieve permanent housing. For this, I recently received the city of Westminster's Soroptimist International Volunteer of the Year Award.
Much of my family’s success is thanks to the constant support of the Anaheim Achieves Afterschool Program. My mom turned her life around, and has been working as a grant writer with American Family Housing for the past three years. We now live in a two-bedroom condominium in Westminster, California. I just finished my freshman year at Ocean View High School in Huntington Beach, California and plan to attend UCLA and become a filmmaker. I will always remember the powerful lessons Anaheim Achieves taught me and carry on similar good works in my community.