As a small child, Blake was often left to fend for himself. On the nights when his mom was with her drug friends and his dad was nowhere to be found, he and his older sisters would be left alone in the house with no food and the power shut off. Concerned neighbors called DCS several times to investigate, but nothing ever changed.

It was only after Blake’s dad overdosed on insulin, fell into a diabetic coma and died, that Blake was moved to a group home. Grieving the loss of his dad, Blake struggled at first to stay in school, often missing classes and receiving failing grades. He felt he wasn’t cutout for school. When Blake discovered that he could compose electronic music on a computer, he found his true passion.

As a YOTO student, Blake’s monthly stipend acts as the incentive he needs to improve his grades and attend classes every day. But it is the Student Success Center that has made the biggest difference for him – a safe place he can go after school to finish homework and use the computers. Blake is a sophomore, and hopes to attend college and to give back to his community.

Luis & Juana