Jana is a Teen Leader, one of eight high school students in North Philadelphia hired to work in “Power”, Providence Center’s after school program. Providence Center works in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Fairhill, a community challenged by Philadelphia’s highest murder and poverty rates. Children in the program receive academic assistance, and they also learn to be resilient in the face of trauma and to solve their problems peacefully. Jana is a critical part of this process, serving as a tutor and mentor for the children, while also being a consistent and positive presence in their lives. For a long time, Jana hoped to leave the neighborhood. “I always wanted to leave the city and help children in other communities,” she says. But now, she sees the impact she can make in her own neighborhood. “Being a Teen Leader I have the opportunity to be a support for all the children. It gives me the opportunity to be an example for them and just to make a difference and change in some way how they see their life.”
Jana, along with her Teen Leader peers, also attends workshops and one-on-one coaching to help her grow as a person and professional. “Before Providence Center,” Jana says, “I was always worried, never really sure of what I wanted to do. And now I’m more calm, and I have more faith that things are going to turn out the way they should.” Things are turning out very well for Jana. A high school senior, she recently received her first college acceptance, complete with a full scholarship offer. Jana will be going to college, an amazing personal accomplishment, but she won’t be alone. Jana’s example will help many children to grow, to dream, and to follow her down the path she is blazing.