As incredibly challenging this year has been, our Para Los Niños students and families continue to find paths to success and hope. One of these students has been a part of the PLN family for over 14 years.
Samantha started in transitional kindergarten at the Charter Elementary School in 2007, after her mom, Verónica, learned of PLN’s high-quality education. Verónica was very grateful to learn that the school provided so much more. “I never imagined this school would offer this much,” Verónica says of PLN’s wraparound support.
This year brought various challenges to the family, including loss of family members. For Samantha, senior year of high school meant navigating how to share a one-room apartment with her parents while she and her two siblings attended virtual classes. Through it all though, Para Los Niños’ staff and teachers have been “a second home,” says Samantha, sharing her appreciation for PLN’s support and care, such as providing food and other necessities for their family and others in need. “PLN is not just a school, it’s a family.”
Today, Samantha is about to graduate high school and enrolled in PLN’s Youth Workforce Services. She appreciates that everyone is from different cultures and backgrounds, and recommends PLN to anyone. She even volunteers at the elementary and middle school whenever she can – hoping to offer the same impact on others that she has felt. “If not for PLN, I would have given up on education,” Samantha says of her experience. “I wouldn’t have finished high school.”
The whole family too, is very much a part of the organization. Samantha’s youngest sibling is in 5th grade at the elementary school and enrolled in PLN’s after-school, and each year the family volunteers with PLN’s Día de los Muertos celebration.
Through all the challenges, there is still much to celebrate. Samantha is currently in the process of selecting where to attend college! She’s received six college acceptances so far(!) and plans to study medicine, with a long-term goal of becoming a pediatrician or surgeon. Samantha shares that she appreciates the PLN teachers inspiring students to never give up, and the staff providing support when needed.