Throughout his entire life, Diego was surrounded by negativity. He was the victim of constant verbal abuse from his mother, who repeatedly kicked him out of the house and called him names. This unsafe and unstable environment took a toll on Diego’s self-confidence, and he started hanging out with a troublesome crowd. Before he knew it, he found himself “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and unwillingly became part of the juvenile justice system. For Diego’s mother, this was the final straw: she kicked him out of the house for good, leaving him with nowhere to turn.

Despite abundant adversity, Diego was determined to stay in school and break the cycle of poverty that had plagued his family. He discovered the Youth On Their Own program through his School Liaison and receives help with food and school supplies. Since joining the program, his teachers and counselors have noticed a positive change in his body language and spirit. Each month that he receives the monthly stipend from YOTO, he also proudly visits his School Liaison’s office and shows her his report card: all A’s!

Diego is currently a junior in high school and lives with his relatives. He is looking forward to graduating from high school so he can join the US Armed Forces.