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December 12, 2013

A True Inspiration

by PBUnitedWay

Jessica moved from Haiti to the United States when she was just two years old.  She began attending school in the Head Start Program at Village Academy and later began attending the Achievement Centers for Children and Adults’ Beacon After-school Program.

Today, at 16, Jessica speaks English fluently, and is proud of her adopted country.

“I truly believe I am an American,” Jessica said. “I wasn’t born here and I don’t have official papers, but I am an American. It always upsets me when people take for granted that they are American. I’m lucky because I have a second chance because I came to America.”

Jessica is truly an inspired young teen and an inspiration to everyone she meets. A straight-A student (an accomplishment in its own right), Jessica attributes much of her success to Achievement Centers for Children and Adults.

“I know what it means to be successful,” Jessica said. “I have people to look up to — real role models. I have learned that everyone has a choice and that I can chart my own course.”

These “real role models” Jessica speaks of are the counselors that work with her every day after school. Jessica says she has learned what it takes to make good grades, how to produce high-quality work, and to always turn in her academic homework assignments on time.

But Jessica’s aspirations go far beyond turning in her homework. Her short-term goal is to be dual enrolled in high school and college so that she can earn two years of college credits before graduating high school. Her long-term goal is to become a forensic scientist.

Research shows that success in school depends heavily on a positive early childhood experience.   Programs which help ensure that children receive the very best start in school are a good investment in promoting later academic and career success. 

Children entering school “ready to learn” have the best chance of maintaining their grade level, staying in school, getting a diploma, and advancing to higher education.    That’s why the Town of Palm Beach United Way funds organizations like Opportunity, Inc., the YWCA Preschool, and the Achievement Centers to help change the odds for students like Jessica.

Since 1945, the Town of Palm Beach United Way has invested more than $60 million into Palm Beach County because of generous donors like you. Although some of the needs since 1945 have changed, the Town of Palm Beach United Way is still helping people who struggle with hunger, homelessness, job loss, abuse, mental illness, and more.  To find out more about the Town of Palm Beach United Way visit www.palmbeachunitedway.org.   On behalf of the community that we serve, THANK YOU for the difference you make. 

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