Victoria has always felt the burning need to help others, dreaming of serving her country in the military and one day, hopefully attending college.

Victoria witnessed her father’s immediate deportation to Mexico while her mother was detained in Tucson. Eventually, her mother was also deported abandoning Victoria and her younger siblings. She found a friend whose mother was willing to take them in but Victoria needed to care for her younger siblings, causing her to miss a lot of school, as she struggled to help her sisters.

A counselor at school noticed Victoria’s absenteeism and sad demeanor. She spoke to Victoria about what was happening, and encouraged her to apply to Youth On Their Own. Hesitant to ask for help, Victoria was overjoyed to receive YOTO support which provided basic hygiene and school supplies and the earned monthly stipend enabling Victoria to stay in high school and graduate this year with her senior class.

Susanna Alvarez-Hadden, YOTO Alum