I wake up every morning thinking about why I did so many bad things, but then I realize that I have another chance to correct my mistakes.
– Juan, ARCC’s Truancy Reduction Program
Before beginning the Ocala Mentoring program Tiyana was a troublemaker at school, talking back to teachers, getting sent to the office, and failing most of her classes. At home, she constantly fought with her mother and lashed out in anger. Given her difficult life, it’s no wonder Tiyana acted out. From witnessing drug use and domestic violence, to living in an area riddled with gang violence and growing up amid family conflict, Tiyana has weathered more storms than most adults experience in a lifetime.
With only half of the school year complete, Tiyana is already feeling the effects of the program’s support. With a new appreciation for education, Tiyana raised her grades from all D’s and F’s to a 2.8 GPA in only one grading period. Now, she aims to make the honor roll and plans to attend college to become a nurse. Her relationship with her mother is much improved, as well. But, perhaps most importantly, the program has provided Tiyana with a person she can trust and confide in, ARCC’s counselor and case manager, Pete Hernandez. "He has been a real positive father figure to me, something that I have never had, and has helped me so much."
In middle school Jasmin was a self-described troubled girl who was never happy and cried all the time. Since her father left when she was 4-years-old, Jasmin took her frustration out on her mother, "I used to be angry a lot, always with a negative attitude. I would talk back to people, especially my own mother." Luckily, Jasmin found her way to ARCC’s Ocala Mentoring program, where she met counselor Pete Hernandez. "Pete was like a big brother to me," Jasmin says, "Since I am an only child, I always felt lonely. But with Pete, I had someone to look up to and guide me into doing better. He made me realize what a bright future I had ahead of me."
Jasmin completed the Ocala Mentoring program and went on to Overfelt High School, where she currently has a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the swimming and tennis teams, the Aztec Club and the Law Enforcement Cadet program. Jasmin hopes to come back to ARCC when she is an adult and become a mentor at Ocala so she can give back to the program that helped make her the young woman she is today.