When STARS Align

Victor and Raquel Peer-to-peer mentoringVictor entered the STARS Peer-to-Peer mentoring program a shy, withdrawn sophomore. His mother, fearing the negative influences he might encounter at school, kept him away from most extracurricular programs. Victor remained hesitant to fully engage even in class activities and discussions. It was the positive influence of his fellow mentors that finally drew Victor out.

Through the STARS program, Victor found his voice and forged critical leadership abilities. Now in his third year as a mentor to at-risk peers, Victor has the confidence and awareness to draw out other withdrawn students.

Mentee Raquel struggled with difficult circumstances and the same timid nature as Victor. Because of his experience in STARS, Victor was able to develop a strong bond with Raquel, draw her out, and guide her through her time as a mentee.

This year Raquel has chosen to continue the tradition of leadership by serving as a mentor. Together Victor and Raquel stand as pillars of leadership to others and are living examples that STARS Peer-to-Peer mentoring changes lives. Their stories attest to the ongoing STARS legacy of hope.

Learn more about STARS on our peer-to-peer mentoring page.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

STARS Transformation

Going through the STARS Peer-to-Peer mentoring program as a mentee helped Keshawn turn her life around. Hear her inspiring story.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Speaking of Hope

Gabe Salazar As a teenager, Gabe Salazar struggled to find his identity. In a single-parent family that often battled financial problems and even homelessness, Gabe transferred from one school to another, reinventing himself to fit in at each new location. Exposed to gangs and violence, Gabe found himself around drugs, alcohol and dangerous behaviors.

Now as a speaker, he draws on that tumultuous past to help today’s teens. Gabe lived the day-to-day struggles many students face, and he powerfully incorporates that into each message. He provides real, tangible solutions from his own life experiences to the students he meets.

As one of only a handful of national Latino speakers, Gabe and his urban speaking style stand out. This year Gabe has given over 70 programs where he has shared inspiration and hope to over 26,000 students, staff and parents.

Learn more about Gabe on his speaker page.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Learning Life on 3 Screens

The Pledge at Keeley Elementary School This year, Just Say YES partnered with CAMFEL to bring highly impactful 3-screen films to elementary, middle and high school students. These films for school assemblies capture students’ attention, teaching essential life skills through a medium they love. Each film contains age-appropriate dramatizations of real-life experiences students face every day.

The Pledge motivates students to make a positive difference in the world around them with their words, actions and attitudes. It encourages students to stand up to bullying and to be part of the solution by building others up rather than tearing them down.

Dream, Dare, Do! encourages students to realize their dreams through preparation and hard work. Though everyone faces roadblocks at one time or another, students can persevere and turn their dreams into a reality. This film teaches students to stop passing the blame to someone else and start taking responsibility for their futures.

Ready, Set, Go! encourages elementary students not to give up, but to practice hard and make things happen. It shows them how to avoid the bullies and the negative voices that will try to keep them down.

In 2014, nearly 10,000 students saw one of these 3-screen films through Just Say YES programs.

Find out more about these 3-screen films.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Your generous support makes stories like these possible. Please help us keep these great programs available by donating today.

Just Say Yes logo bw [Converted]