As told by Brandan, a student who was directly served by City Year in a classroom in his freshman year of high school. Brandan is entering high school this year as a junior and has remained connected to the City Year teams.
When I was younger, I lost both of my brothers. One brother was murdered and the other is serving a 35 year sentence. Because of this, I felt alone and that led me to become an outcast and disengaged from school. I was bullied and singled out from most social events. My anger and tension continued to build, and to release anger, I got in fights. In middle school, I was a victim of anger and depression. I had no knowledge of who I was or who I wanted to become and there was a lack of male leadership.
In middle school, I began to associate myself with the wrong crowd. I was coping with my pain through criminal activities. I was arrested multiple times, detained once, and sentenced three years of probation. My mother is a Haitian immigrant with little formal education and was very stressed with my behavior and academic needs. I finished eighth grade with a 1.6 GPA and saw no hope in completing high school or becoming a scholar.
Entering high school, I was completely lost. Then I met my first City Year mentors: Ms. Sarah, Ms. Victoria, and Mr. Brian. However, I didn't accept the help and advice they provided at first. Over time, my City Years mentors motivated me to excel and stand out from others through a positive light. My City Years helped me improve my grades and also prepared me to finish high school strong.
My City Year mentors provided educational support and helped me believe I was intelligent enough to challenge myself academically. City Year was a family of positive role models who gave me hope. My sophomore year was amazing. I started the year with a 2.8 GPA and completed the year with a 3.3 GPA.
As I grew into a leader, I was offered my first internship opportunity with a former Wall Street employee and also hold three jobs while maintaining a 3.8 GPA. City Year has provided more than educational help, they have taught me to become a victor of the future.