Joel Santiago Appreciates Help He Received from Carver Center Youth Development Program

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I grew-up in a single parent household. My mother had me at 16-years-old. I grew up in low-income housing living with my mother, grandmother, and aunt. In middle school, my grades ranged from D- to C. Going into 9th grade, I thought I would do a lot better academically, but first quarter gave me a rude awakening. I earned a 1.3 GPA and my mother wasn’t too proud of it. I kept hearing things about a program in the school that would help me do better with my grades. I asked my English teacher, Miss Molinelli, about the program and it happened to be that she was the one in charge of running it.

My first day in the program, I was very nervous and felt uncomfortable. Although I knew quite a few people involved, everyone had started before me so it was obvious that everyone was very comfortable with each other. After my first year, I made a lot of new friends and grew closer to some people also.

YDP has gotten me involved in things such as community service, cooking, and working out weekly. I look forward to Mondays-Thursdays because I know I will be entertained and have a quiet environment in which to do my homework.

Being in YDP, my GPA reached 2.7. I had one of the highest scores in the SAT program and I was one of the students who earned a spot on the Annual Carver College Tour this year. I was introduced to quite a few schools and realized I’m interested in some of them.

This program means a lot to me and it has changed me. I am now dedicated to doing my work and improving my grades. YDP has changed who I am and has helped to push me in the right direction.

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