Not enough can be said about the pivotal role persistence plays in helping YOTO’s students.

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes YOTO is unable to accept students into its program if they do not meet certain criteria. One of the many jobs that our program coordinators are tasked with is reviewing student appeals for those wishing to be reconsidered for entrance into our programs. Diego is one of our hard-working staff that recently did some extra digging to see if we might be able to help a student who had been previously denied our services based on a past criminal record.

YOTO’s aim is always to help students as best we can, and that usually means having many candid conversations with students as well as other people in their lives. What Diego learned through talks with the student, his probation officer, and his school liaison, was unfortunately one we hear all too often: a child trying his best to stay in school while being forced to provide for himself. Poor decisions are made in desperate situations, and this student was sent to juvenile detention as a result of his. Add to this, the lack of a phone and the need to travel far everyday just to get to school and the result is many long hours away from home with no one to greet him when he finally steps in the door.

Thankfully this student had the initiative to appeal YOTO’s initial decision. It was obvious after Diego’s detective work that he was now on the right track. In the end we were able to enroll him into our program. For YOTO and its students, the appeal process is an important one, and we’re always willing to take a deeper look if it means we might be able to get another student the help they need.

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