Wichita, Kansas – Eighteen-year-old Angel completed high school almost a month earlier than she was supposed to and was accepted into the college. She has dreams of becoming a pediatrician.
Angel is one of the numerous former Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. participants and their family members or guardians receiving a 2022 scholarship through the organization’s Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education. She received a laptop to continue her studies. The scholarship is awarded in the amount of $1,000 toward school and job training costs or can come in the form of a laptop computer. Recipients can reapply annually.
Though on the right path now, Angel admits that she struggled with school attendance and faced several challenges after her community mom died two years ago.
“I met my community mom when I was in the seventh grade, and she took me in as her own when my home life was abusive, toxic and unstable,” Angel said. “She saved my life. After she passed away in 2020, I was heavily suicidal. I also quit going to school and chose not to get out of bed for days at a time.”
Angel was referred to YAP in early 2022 through the nonprofit’s youth justice program, which provided her with an Advocate, Kameelah Alexander. YAP is a national nonprofit in more than 100 communities in 33 states and the District of Columbia that provides community-based services as an alternative to youth incarceration, congregate out-of-home placement and treatment, and neighborhood violence.
Angel recalls her state of mind when she met Alexander, saying she was “extremely emotional,” and “angry at the world.”
“(Alexander) showed me love and compassion,” Angel said. “She pushed me to go to school and reminded me how smart I was, who I was as a person, and who I wanted to be. She helped me remember why school and life was so important to me all along. She gave me structure and guidance when I needed it because I didn’t have it at home.”
Alexander helped Angel enroll at Butler Community College, even drove her to the school so she could take her placement test, get her school ID and schedule.
“Angel has blossomed under YAP and followed through on her goal of attending college,” Alexander said. “Her passion to excel past her current state is admirable.”
Angel said Alexander taught her how to remain humble because someone always has it worse.
“Words can’t explain how much I benefited from this program, but more importantly how I benefited from an extremely honest and compassionate person that you chose to hire,” Angel said.
Angel is thankful for the laptop and says she will now be able to do her schoolwork at home without having to stress over finding a ride to the library or campus.
“This is one last thing I have to worry about before starting this new chapter of my life,” Angel added.
To learn more about YAP visit www.yapinc.org or follow us on Twitter at @YAPInc.