“Mercedes” started coming to the Teen Center in Culmore last year and usually arrived frustrated and discouraged. She got bad grades, even finishing the first semester with an F in English, and she didn’t like her teacher. She was bullied by her peers at school, and there were a lot of people living in her family’s small apartment, so it always felt crowded. She felt insecure, overwhelmed, and distracted. It made it hard for her to concentrate in class or focus on her homework after school.
The Teen Center was the first place where Mercedes could give her brain a break from all of her stress. She volunteered, hung out with other young people who were kind to her, and found a confidante in the Teen Center coordinator.
The Teen Center coordinator asked if Mercedes was willing to set one goal for herself: to improve her English grade. Mercedes agreed. The coordinator and volunteers worked with Mercedes on her homework, and her English grade went up from an F to a B! In the meantime, Mercedes talked with them about how to respond when someone treats her poorly, or when she’s frustrated with authority figures like her parents or teachers. Like her grades, Mercedes’ attitude both at school and at the Teen Center has greatly improved!
Mercedes is doing much better this semester. She looks forward to coming to the Teen Center to get help with her schoolwork and a break from the stress at home and at school – it’s made all the difference for her to have a safe place to count on every day.