“After school programs offer the help you might not be able to find anywhere else.”
Melvina, 17, is a senior at Perry High School. Her entire life, she worked hard to get good grades, and she encouraged her twin sister along the way.
She attended after school programs throughout her life, where she found help and guidance from adults in the community. “I didn’t have someone in my life to help me, so I went to after school to find that,” Melvina said.
With parents and siblings who dropped out of high school at a young age, after school programs helped Melvina see the importance of her education. In high school, she found herself at the Neighborhood Learning Alliance (NLA), a United Way partner agency, two years ago. “I saw myself going backward, not getting the grades I knew I could, but going to after school programs put me on the right track again,” Melvina explained.
When Melvina started attending after school programs with NLA, she was very reserved. “I used to be so shy. When I came to NLA, they helped me work on that. Now, I know it’s important to make eye contact, shake someone’s hand when you meet them. I’m not afraid to be myself anymore,” Melvina said.
She was selected as a Reading Warrior at NLA, where she now helps younger students with their homework and acts as a mentor to them. “I see myself in the kids I am working with, I can see how close some of them are to falling behind. I know after school programs make an impact,” Melvina said.
Melvina hopes to be the first in her family to attend college. With seven nephews and four nieces, Melvina is determined to set a good example. “Thanks to my after school experiences, I have goals. I want to do something with my life. And I want my nieces and nephews to know they can accomplish anything,” Melvina shared.
Next year, Melvina hopes to attend college and study animal science. “After school helped me realize this is possible,” Melvina said.
To learn more about United Way’s Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time visit https://uwswpa.org/apost/.