Statistics may help us prove Elevate’s efficacy, but students’ stories from our national affiliates speak for themselves.
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Ruby is a freshman at UNT and an Elevate Navajo alumna from Thomas Jefferson High School. Read Ruby’s story of perseverance below.
A Place I called HOME. That’s what the UNT Navajo dorm was to me. Since home was not a happy place for me growing up; or should I say I never had a home, much less a happy one. Living with a mother that struggles with addiction and a non-present father, I grew up jumping from family member to family member.
My High School years were plagued with one heartache after another. From loosing my best friend suddenly to my mom being hospitalized and nearly dying from a heart attack, my Senior year was a blur for me. I didn’t think I would graduate. I felt hopeless and stuck.
Things started to change for me my spring semester when I met Elevate Navajo and was invited weekly to have lunch with them. I was able to open up and not be judged by them. We would have Hot Topics weekly and we would be able to share our thoughts.
This helped me so much. Ms. Michelle (Mama Burt) would invite me after school to different events and made me feel like I was part of her family. I am able to call her at any time of day or night and she’s been there to help, listen, and encourage me. To this date, Elevate has included me in Summer Camp in Colorado where I faced my fear of heights and got to do tons of activities! I was able to experience a lot of firsts through Elevate.
I have overcome so much in life and continue to push forward to complete my first year in college which will be a huge accomplishment for me. Elevate has become the family I always needed. ‘’MY Family”.
Cesar’s life has changed a lot since arriving in the US from Honduras. Cesar came to this country in 2015 not able to speak a word of English. Fast-forward to several years later, Cesar is a confident student-athlete at Austin College in Sherman, TX.
Cesar credits his success in life to his family and the amazing members of his school and local community who supported him throughout his years at Thomas Jefferson High School. It truly does take a village to help raise a child. Elevate is just one of the many champions Cesar had around him. “Without Elevate, and the special Angel who supports my college dream; I don’t know what I would be doing with my life,” says Cesar.
Cesar met Elevate Teacher Mentors Vince and Eric over a year and a half ago during Elevate’s weekly lunchtime bonding times. “I still remember as if it had been yesterday” recalls Cesar. “I walked into a portable classroom at TJ for the first time for some free food with my friends. After a few visits, the Teacher Mentors had become like my brothers. During our times together, we would share about our lives and learn life skills like generosity, loving others, and believing in my dreams. I hope to be able to be an angel of hope to other kids one day just like the Teacher Mentors were to me.”
Cesar was a key leader in his college soccer team’s success and was the only freshman who played 16/18 games this past season. He even won his school’s coveted “goal of the year” award. Cesar has maintained a 3.6 GPA during his freshman year and continues to work hard towards his degree in Business Administration. His dream is to graduate from college and build a business that provides mentorship and job opportunities for youth in his community.
Your generosity as a donor and partner of Elevate Navajo continues to allow us the opportunity to impact the lives of youth like Cesar at Thomas Jefferson High School and Medrano middle school. Thanks for your support.