Maryland Public Television is proud to share the personal and heartfelt stories of local teens and youth in Maryland overcoming great obstacles to succeed in school, and life. Their compelling words, thoughts and emotions were captured in an innovative youth media project for American Graduate. We hope their stories will help inspire youth in similar situations, and serve as a gentle nudge to adults to get involved and give back in their communities! Special thanks to project partner Wide Angle Youth Media, the pioneers behind these great stories.
|When Aminata moved to America from Senegal with her family, she thought life would be easier. What she didn't foresee is the challenges she would face in adjusting to her new life. As the eldest child, Aminata had to be a caregiver to her younger siblings and a guide to help her parents navigate a new country. See how her life turned around when she joined the Refugee Youth Project.|
|For Ricardo Amparo, growing up as a teen in Baltimore City was tough, and there was a lot of pressure to be accepted. Ricardo found himself running around with the wrong crowd and doing things that would change the course of his life. Determined to turn things around and get back on track, he took part in extra-curricular activities and found his passion for media production.|
|Stormy was on the cheerleading squad, dance team and in the gospel choir. She was determined to graduate high school and go on to college to continue pursuing her music. But all that changed when she found out she was pregnant. See how Stormy faced her challenges and now serves as a role model for other teen moms.|
|As a youth in Baltimore City, graduating high school was a struggle Tyecel fought with, an accomplishment that seemed unattainable at times. There was doubt, battles with depression and pressures around having an identity. Many people would doubt Tyecel’s ability to graduate high school, but thankfully, there were positive role models and motivators within the immediate family. Graduating high school and obtaining a high school diploma is a reminder to Tyecel of what can be achieved with hard word and determination.|
|Dawnya's life consisted of long phases of social workers, custody court cases, stays with strangers, and moving around between different foster homes. Without the support from her parents, she looked for people who could guide her and help her work through some of these hardships. When she met a team of community organizers that were recruiting youth leaders at her high school, she jumped in, and her life began to turn around.|