“I wish I had like a mother figure,” said Esmeralda Gallardo, a participant in the program. “I kind of feel like it’s more of a separation so I’m kind of like on my own.”
Esmeralda has done it on her own, along with more than 1,500 other kids and teens in Pima County. When 18-year-old Esmeralda needed help, she turned to Youth On Their Own .
“I was in a big hole. I was actually losing motivation, I couldn’t get another job, I just had a really hard time because I wasn’t able to pay my bills. I didn’t like having to ask for money.”
Now she’s one of nine high school students going through a paid internship program.