The following profile speaks well to the difference Common Hope’s integrated programs make in the lives of youth at risk of dropping out of school.
Shirley is one of eight children and lives in a town perched on a steep hillside near Antigua. Her father passed away in 2008, and her mother supports the family by selling food and washing clothes. Two of Shirley’s older sisters dropped out of school before seventh grade, and the family’s economic situation is very unstable.
Shirley has been attending Antigua youth group activities for the past two years, and program staff have noted that her confidence and independence continue to develop. After the death of her father, Shirley found comfort in youth group activities and support from program staff and participants. Her participation suddenly became much more consistent.
When she first started attending activities over two years ago, Shirley always came with the same friends and stayed within her own group most of the time. Now, she comes even if her friends don’t. She gets along well with everyone, shows great leadership skills, and is confident to socialize with other youth that might not be in her direct circle.
Both Shirley’s mom and her Common Hope social worker, Lidia, have high hopes for her. “She shows a lot of initiative and is very positive,” says Lidia. “She sees a more stable future for herself, and she is confident in herself.”