If you’d met Jose just a few short years ago, you might not recognize the confident, engaging young man who you can find most afternoons in the Teen BLOCK lounge.
Middle School was a struggle for Jose. Problems at home spilled over into problems at school, and Jose became disengaged. Everything changed when two friends encouraged him to join them at Teen BLOCK, a free after-school program at Lowell CHC that supports and empowers teens to make healthy choices.
Right away Jose felt at home. And it showed.
“Here, I could just be me. I didn’t have to hide myself,” Jose says. “They put a spark in me to do better.”
Jose’s outlook changed quickly. With a strong support network of peers and adults, he was able to tap into his own potential and approach the world with renewed optimism.
“They helped me deal with my anger and frustration. Now, I am more peaceful, more confident in my own skin.”
Jose became a part of the Peer Ambassadors program and even emceed last year’s Dance 4 Peace, a youth-led annual celebration of tolerance through performance art that attracts an audience of over 1,000 people. Now a High School Junior, Jose works two jobs, is doing well in school, and has his sights set on college and beyond. While he has many goals for the future, one rises to the top: returning to Teen BLOCK one day to help show other struggling teens a different path.
Thanks to our community partners, and the home he’s found at Teen BLOCK, Jose’s future is one filled with possibility.
“The people, the environment, it just clicks. At Teen BLOCK we really build bonds, like a family. It’s a great feeling, especially for someone who doesn’t have a lot, like me.”