When it was discovered that her mother was working as a prostitute and using heroin, Antonia was removed from the house and sent to live in a group home. The staff there encouraged her to apply to Youth On Their Own. The YOTO program support has helped Toni with basic needs including food, school and hygiene supplies, and the monthly stipend she has earned through good grades.

Eventually, Antonia was able to move from her group home to live with her grandfather, with whom she feels much happier and more secure. When meeting Antonia, it seems impossible to believe that she’s only a freshman in high school. She impresses all those she meets – from her YOTO Student Advocate to her DCS caseworker – with her enthusiasm for school and life, as well as her maturity. She’s never afraid to ask for help or to stand up for what she believes in.

As a member of the Debate Team and The Gay-Straight Alliance Club, she’s already pursuing her long-term goals of becoming a defense attorney and advocating for kids like herself. Antonia plans on attending the University of Washington and then Harvard Law School.