How our Dreamer Spotlight works:
In our stories, you will hear mention of Hollywood and sports celebrities and their generous support for “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA). But IHADLA’s real celebrities are our students (“Dreamers”). In our whole-child continuing support system, we get to know each student well. Their individual stories help you understand how our programs work. In these stories, you will see how mentoring impacts our Dreamers.
This quarter’s featured Dreamer is Jazmyn, and this is her story as she told it to our Dreamer Dinner attendees on March 20, 2016. Jazmyn is a 10th grader attending Da Vinci High School, where she participates in our IHADLA Inglewood Program 17. She is one of the eleven students who won internships based on their performance in our new Work is Success Internship Program (WISIP). Jazmyn is breaking the cycle of generational poverty with grit and the help of IHADLA.
See how Jazmyn shines at our Dreamer Dinner in the series of photos here. The confidence that Jazmyn has developed as a result of IHADLA’s whole child support system is very gratifying.
“No one in my immediate family has successfully attended and graduated from college. My tenacity, my drive, and my determination won’t allow for that continuous cycle to proceed in my family. IHADLA has played a huge part in my way of thinking.”
“I always excelled in school, which has never been a problem for me, but my weight seemed to be my biggest obstacle. As a young child, I looked for approval in ‘friends.’ I felt like I needed to be friends with everyone, including the ones who talked bad about me in order to be accepted. I was picked on day after day. Although I was always taught that words ‘didn’t hurt,’ I soon began to believe them. This caused me to think of myself as nothing.”
“In 2006, I joined IHADLA while I was in the first grade. Obesity was one of the major issues being dealt with in public schools, but IHADLA never treated me differently. I remember Mrs. C, my program coordinator, was always reminding me “they’re just jealous!” Of course this always made me feel content at the moment, but the next day it was the same thing, like an endless cycle. Soon I learned this cycle would continue until I stopped it.”
Mentors Play an Important Role in Breaking Generational Poverty and in the Success of Our Dreamers
“With the support of IHADLA, I received my mentor, Amina, in 2007. We were matched based on my career interest at the time, which was to become a teacher. Amina is more than just a mentor: she plays the role of an older sister in my life. Amina’s constant uplifting and telling me that I am beautiful slowly started to boost my confidence. The little things, like going to the spa to get pampered, were also things that made my day. I learned that beauty is only skin deep and no one is able to determine your beauty except you.”
“IHADLA has impacted my life in so many more ways, that I will forever be grateful to them. Ever since I can remember education has always come first in my life, and IHADLA has made school a breeze with all the academic support provided and the private talks with staff that would make me feel content. Over the past decade or so, I have maintained being an A student. IHADLA motivates me to continue to do better: from visiting various college campuses, to attending my very first Dreamer Conference last summer in Boston, Massachusetts.”
“My family and I have had many struggles and obstacles over the years. We have endured everything you can think of, from multiple deaths in a year to financial problems that made us slow down for a moment until we were able to get back on our feet. My point of saying all of this is that I have been through hell and back, but I am determined to do what I need to do to succeed, no matter what. Guidance and a family-like environment is one of the many things children should grow up with, and fortunately, IHADLA contributed to this aspect of my life.”
“This program has supported me and basically helped raise me. With IHADLA as my backbone and my support, I am certain that I will not fail. No, it’s not going to be easy, but being happy and successful in every aspect of my life is my targeted accomplishment. I finally have an answer to the question that we were asked millions of times when we younger. When I grow up, I would love to be the best at what I do and to have nothing but utter happiness and positivity surrounding me. My name is Jazmyn Davis, and this is my dream.”
If you would like to mentor one of our Dreamers or inspire our youth in other ways, please click below.