Ti’Andre is a current junior in high school and graduate of ASAS programming in South Florida, and he says SF ASAS changed the trajectory of his life. He grew up in the Brownsville neighborhood of Miami, raised by a single mother of four. Before he joined the program, he did not have the resources and support he needed for success. Teachers described him as a child with a bad temper and “don’t mess with me” attitude. Upon joining All-Stars, though, he turned his attitude around. He began competing in oratory and used his newly developed persuasive skills to encourage his peers to join and volunteer with SF ASAS. Of his experience with SF ASAS, he says the program taught him to be himself, helped him understand the value of a good education, and introduced him to his current role models and mentors—including SF ASAS Executive Director Sean Prospect.
In high school, Ti’Andre plays on the varsity football team, volunteers with SF ASAS programs at Brownsville Middle School, has earned the distinction of Sergeant First Class in JROTC, and serves as the Lieutenant for the City of Miami Police Explorers. Recently, he won the honor of Student of the Year for the City of Miami. Now looking toward his next academic step, Ti’Andre has plans to attend Stanford, West Point, or Columbia. He hopes to become a police officer, prosecutor, or President of the United States.
Homework wasn’t always “like taking a walk in the park” as it is now that Victoria Torres in in After-School All-Stars South Florida. Torres, an 8th grader at West Miami Middle School, has been in ASAS since the 6th grade. She credits the program with dramatically helping her improve her grades, study skills and learn how to establish priorities. She is incredibly proud that she now understands previously difficult concepts when they are explained in class. She met teachers like Mrs. Diaz who helped her gain a better understanding of her homework assignments and Torres explains that her self-confidence has improved as a result. Torres says that through ASAS “you can actually have fun at school.” One of Torres’ favorite ASAS programs is the Career Exploration Opportunities national initiative, which she calls “fun and exciting.” This career-oriented young lady excels in math and science and hopes to go to college to pursue her dream of being a chemist, a dream she had cherished ever since she received a chemistry set as a four-year-old child for Christmas. She is considering attending the University of Miami and hopes to “make my family proud.”
Torres, a vivacious, talkative and outgoing girl, also credits ASAS with helping her improve her social skills and make friends. Torres’ parents divorced when she was young and she had to move between schools, which made making friends challenging. In her young life, she explains that she has lost many people close to her, including her grandparents. Through ASAS, Torres has found peers and teachers she can rely on for guidance and support in school and in life!
My name is Marie and I am an 8th grade student at JFK Middle school in North Miami Beach. I am also the South Florida student representative on the National Youth Advisory Board for After-school All-stars.
I want to tell everyone about my amazing journey with the After-School All-Star program. Before I started, I was a little shy, not too involved and not always confident enough to speak up when I saw something wrong. I’ve been in this free program for three years since the sixth grade and it has changed who I am. I’ve had the chance to get to know my teachers better and take new classes like yoga, drama, nutrition, art, career exploration and cheerleading to name a few.
They help me with my grades and homework. They give me a snack too but that’s not my favorite part.
Last summer, I was given the opportunity to go to Dallas Texas for the National Youth Advisory Board Leadership Retreat. Yes I was nervous to leave Miami and my friends but when I got there, I met other Yabbies like me, learned about leadership and community service and went to the Texas Instruments headquarters to learn about jobs in engineering. They even gave us free scientific calculators which will come in handy in high school. When I grow up, I want to attend FIU, go to medical school and become a doctor (anesthesiologist) and help people who are sick.
Thanks to afterschool all-stars, all the staff and volunteers, thousands of kids like me in South Florida know they are on their way to achieving their dreams.