All of our students are amazing, hard-working young adults. Some have great stories to tell. These are just a few.
Manik was forced to transfer schools after intense bullying by his classmates. Manik is smaller than most of his class and has often been the new kid as his family has moved several times.
When he was nominated and accepted into C5, Manik was finally able to be himself without the fear of being bullied. In his first summer at camp Manik even found the confidence to participate in a poetry slam.
Manik’s new found confidence did not stop with camp though. This fall he applied and was accepted to be a C5 Ambassador, which requires a good deal of public speaking.
Gunawork’s parents sacrificed their life in Ethiopia to bring her and her siblings to America. It is this sacrifice that has inspired Gunawork to work hard and dream big.
The C5 staff has recognized Gunawork’s natural tendency to lead, referring to her as a “the mother hen.” Three girls from Gunawork’s school are C5 teens as well, and she is constantly looking out for them.But in her time at C5, Gunawork has already applied her newly developed leadership skills to her school-life. Gunawork found the confidence to run for student government president – and won.
But perhaps what is more surprising is the fact that Gunawork applied to become a C5 ambassador this fall. Gunawork’s first language is not English and the position entails public speaking, but she applied anyway. Gunawork was welcomed into the program and continues to lead her C5 classmates as well as her schoolmates and friends.
All C5 teens are dealing with challenging circumstances and environments, but Jameia’s most challenging environment is her own body.
Jameia was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer at the age of nine. But Jameia had the courage to enter the C5 program and to set her sights on college and refuses to let her illness to hinder her participation.
Jameia’s courage has inspired not only other people her age, but the C5 staff. Staff members are certain that the leadership skills she is learning combined with her story of hope will inspire positive change in her schoolmates and in her community.
Louis is on-track for big things in the future. He’s a sophomore in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas and doing well. In two and a half years, he’ll start applying for substantial jobs with engineering firms. That’s pretty good for a kid from a family where neither mom nor dad graduated high school. His advice to anyone in C5: “Keep going. In the end, the time spent is worth it.” Louis was surprised to find that C5 was far more than something that looked good on his resume. It prepared him with tools and traits to be successful in college and set him apart from a lot of others on campus and in his neighborhood. “When I came back from my C5 summer and asked my friends what they did, they all said the same thing – played video games, watched TV, got in trouble, etc.” But when they asked him what he did, it was different. That’s when he realized the value of C5. “I got to do things I would never otherwise have been able to do. My mom and dad didn’t get to go to college and for awhile, because of money, I thought history would repeat itself with me. Then, on the college tour, I learned about all the scholarships available to me. C5 not only changed my life but it changed my family’s life, too. When I have children, their lives will be different because of my experience with C5.”