“At age 15, I was severely beaten by my step-father, a drug addict, who was put in prison. When he got out of prison a year later, my mother took him back. He continued to beat me and sexually abuse me while my mother watched and did nothing. The Department of Child Safety removed me, and I was put in a group home. My life was awful, and going to school was the only thing I had to look forward to.

One of my teachers introduced me to the Youth On Their Own program. I had never heard of anything like this – that people would give to this organization so that kids like me can continue to go to school. This was amazing to me.

My grades have been excellent, and I am proudly a member of the National Honor Society. I am also a member of the varsity basketball team and love sports. All of this is possible because of Youth On Their Own. I could not have stayed in school without the support, encouragement, and accountability that they required of me.

I graduated in May 2015 and earned a scholarship to Arizona State University. I am interested in studying to become a pediatric nurse and I am thankful for the opportunity given to me through the YOTO program and all the people that support YOTO. Please know that I am very grateful for you.”