'I Really Want To Graduate': A Story Of Youth Resilience

AGE... 19


John recalls his strong desire to quit school just a couple of months into his senior year in September 2016. He was rapidly falling behind in class; homework and life overall were hard. He remembers feeling like there was no point to keep pushing to finish, except for a persistent voice in his head that said, "I really want to graduate." 

...at some point I thought I wasn’t going to make it, I wasn’t going to graduate...
— John

When his stepfather lost his job, John's family had no choice but to double up with his oldest brother's family. This meant six people cramming their lives into a two-bedroom condominium. Sharing the living room with his brother, John slept on the couch. His mom and stepdad worked hard, but their situation failed to improve—especially when they were forced to move again with the landlord's decision to sell.

John felt the immense weight of his family's stress, and he started missing classes. The thought of moving to another city diminished his motivation to excel in school. His grades were low, his reading skills sank below senior level, and his overall academic picture was not promising.

While John worried about his family's financial situation, his absenteeism did not go unnoticed at school. Sandra, a Project Hope Alliance (PHA) case manager and promotor, helped enroll him in our Promotor Pathway Program. PHA identified a need for basic items that would make an immediate difference: food, hygiene products, and cleaning supplies. Sandra supported John academically, working directly with him as a tutor and providing responsive guidance. She also worked closely with his teachers, his counselor, and school staff to address the youth's academic needs.

Additionally, PHA provided computer access to help John complete his assignments on time. John's grades quickly began to recover, his self-esteem improved, and he maintained consistent attendance.

On June 22, John graduated from Newport Harbor High School.

His summer plans include gaining employment to better equip himself for the future. With your help, John and other students just like him are finding the path to succeed in school and break the cycle of the homelessness. Thank you for your generous support!


A promotor is a professional intensive case manager who also acts as a combination of a youth development worker, advocate, and mentor who continues to support and guide youth all the way through early adulthood. Promotores provide one-on-one intensive support and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Every school should have this program.
— Sean Boulton, Newport Harbor High School Principal