Arman

Arman, JKL Student
Ballou High School, Washington, D.C.

We had the pleasure of checking in with our fourth year JKL student Arman from Ballou High School. 

What new skills or goals did you accomplish this summer? My brother taught me how to play the Tuba and I am now in band camp at Ballou H.S. I also took a stab at starting my own little herb garden at home. I was able to see my garden flourish and sample a few things as well. I used the plants we got from our roots-nutrition donation. 

What goals do you have for this upcoming school year? I want to continue to do good academically. I also want to learn how to become more self-sufficient and get ready for adulthood.  

What are you looking forward to from the jkl program this year? I’m looking forward to more new experiences, and skills, working out with my friends and being in a positive environment after school. 

Current favorite healthy meal? a basic salad full of broccoli and kale with a light dressing. 

Tell me about your plans after you graduate from Ballou High School. I hoping to get an academic or band scholarship to attend Historical Black College Virginia State University or Norfolk University. I also love working on cars and wouldn’t mind looking into an auto technician school where I can become certified. 

What are you grateful for today? I am grateful that I made it to the 12th grade and have the opportunity to attend college very soon.  

Estefani

Estefani, JKL Student
Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles, CA

This past June, just keep livin student Estefani from Manual Arts High School crossed the stage with her eyes set on college.

Estefani was the class Valedictorian and will be attending UCLA this fall, where she will be studying psychology. During Estefani’s senior year, she wanted to try something new so she joined the jkl program. “I was stressed out during covid and wanted to work out but didn’t have the motivation. When I joined jkl, I got motivated and made friends some new friends in the process,” says Estefani.

Although Estefani only experienced one year of the jkl program, she is forever grateful for finding such a great resource on campus. “Estefani’s work ethic inspired her peers to push towards goals and embrace the best version themselves,” says George, the Woodcraft Site Coordinator. We are looking forward to seeing Estefani excel in college!

A’Lasia

A’Lasia, JKL Student
East Laurens High School, Dublin

East Laurens H.S. student A’Lasia has found her peace within the JKL program.

Although she joined the program during Covid when a hybrid model was in place, she has taken full advantage of our resources. The Kevin Love Fund SEL curriculum, Mental Health Mondays, and the gratitude circle were the highlights of this past school year.

A’lasia is a soft-spoken trailblazer who makes it a point to bring in new friends, stresses the importance of journaling, and leads by example during community service events. “The thing I love about JKL is that I can express myself without being judged by my peers.” A’lasia will be a junior this upcoming school year and looks forward to continuing to embrace the JKL program and be an ambassador for positivity.

Mia Diaz

Mia Diaz, JKL Student
Animo Inglewood, Los Angeles

Mia Diaz is the second Diaz family member to come through our Animo Inglewood JKL program. Her brother, Malik, was a great JKL student who introduced Mia to the program during her freshman year.

Mia is now a senior and has been involved with the program for all 4 years. She has made some great memories and friendships. Learning to love fitness and experiencing yoga for the first time helped shape Mia’s perspective on loving herself. One of Mia’s overall highlights of the program was attending our spring break Camp Ubuntu trip, where getting uncomfortable and being challenged is the norm.

More recently, the Mental Health Monday sessions during the pandemic helped Mia navigate a stressful period of online learning and having little to no contact with people. Now that high school is in the rearview, Mia is ready to start her college experience at the Historical Black College, Hampton University. Mia will be studying Criminal Justice with plans to attend law school and become a judge. Our just keep livin students make us so proud!  Go reach your goals, Mia!

Sandra

Sandra, JKL Student
 Roosevelt HS, Washington DC

JKL student, Sandra, is a freshman at Roosevelt H.S.  Before joining the JKL program Sandra didn’t really express her emotions or feel motivated to be active. “Because of joining JKL, I now work out in the gym and feel comfortable around other participants.

A while ago, I felt really sad, almost depressed. Working out with my peers gave me so much energy and took away that sad feeling I had.” Sandra’s favorite element of the JKL program is the nutrition lessons. Although Sandra is not new to cooking, she now has the knowledge on how to make quick healthy meals for her mother.

Sandra is already thinking about her future and would like to pursue a law degree and become a lawyer. We are looking forward to spending the next 3 years watching Sandra flourish in our program!  

James

James Melendez, JKL Student
Russell Westbrook Why Not Charter H.S., Los Angeles

Russell Westbrook Why Not Charter H.S. Junior, James Melendez, is focused on opening up his world and embracing new experiences.

Before joining the JKL program during his freshman year, James was a quiet and shy person who didn’t really express himself too often. Now, only two years later, James has been one of the most consistent and active students who is taking full advantage of the gratitude circle, giving back to the community and remaining open minded with new activities.

For example, running is a newfound interest for James and he is incorporating more into his life since running his first 5k race with JKL last year. “James shows his peers it is ok to try new things and show emotions. He has embodied the pillars of JKL. As a teacher I am pleased to have a student I can count on to lead and motivate”- Mrs. Cardona.

Luis

Luis, JKL Student
EACPrep, Los Angeles

EACprep freshman, Luis, is breaking out of his shell and quickly becoming a leader within the JKL program. “He is always eager to assist and volunteer for any event. He takes initiative and has shown great compassion and maturity for a freshman”-JKL Staff.

Community Service has truly inspired Luis and he now understands how important it is to give back to his community. “I love doing something for my community and helping out others who may need it,” says Luis. With 3 more years of high school ahead of him, Luis is already set on a career in engineering and specifically wants to work on airplanes. Students like Luis, who show up as passionate leaders, keep our programs thriving!

Samantha

Samantha, JKL Student
Fairfax HS, Los Angeles

Samantha, who refers to herself as a “former” anti-social student, has finally found her tribe during her junior year at Fairfax High school.

After joining the softball team and being introduced to the JKL program, Samantha started spending more time exploring fitness, nutrition, and teamwork which has elevated her high school experience lately. “I have learned a lot about my body and have been challenged physically and have not allowed myself to be lazy since joining the program”. 

Samantha is already displaying leadership qualities in the JKL Fairfax program, and especially when the Rocky theme song is playing! After high school, Samantha plans to fulfill her lifelong dream by studying to become a veterinarian. We love to hear about our student’s goals and dreams. You got this Samantha!

DeAnthony

DeAnthony, JKL Student
Glenville HS, Cleveland OH

Glenville High school JKL student, DeAnthony is looking forward to closing out his last year in high school with a bang.

Since joining the JKL program in the 10th grade, DeAnthony has become more consistent and vocal about sharing his ideas for community service events. “One of my favorite community service events was going out and feeding the homelessness. It was a real wakeup call and made me realize how grateful I am for what I have,” explained DeAnthony.

Although community service is high on his list for favorite activities in JKL, nutrition takes the number one spot. Learning to shop on a budget at his local market and cooking with more vegetables has been a major highlight for DeAnthony. After high school, DeAnthony is looking forward to attending college and studying to become a neurologist. We always tell our JKL students to dream big and we will always have their backs! We will be cheering for DeAnthony as he wraps up his senior year and pursues his dreams!

Sandy

Sandy, JKL Student
Chavez High School, Houston, TX

JKL student and senior, Sandy from Chavez High School is what we like to call a dedicated ambassador! Since joining the program earlier this Fall, Sandy hasn’t missed any JKL sessions.

Community service projects and the gratitude circle have helped her get through high school with a positive mindset. Before joining JKL, Sandy spent many days stressed out over school and life in general.

Sandy recently got student of the month for the program due to her consistency, positive energy and leadership skills. “The JKL program made me realize that doing things for your community can be fun and often help someone have a better day.” 

We love when new students take advantage of the program whether in their freshman year or senior year, our JKL program is always open!

Zarriah

Zarriah, JKL Student
John Adams High School, Cleveland OH

Zarriah is a JKL student at John Adams in Cleveland who has been shining bright for the last 3 years in the program and is on her way to finishing up her senior year!

Currently, she takes college courses, plays for the school’s basketball and tennis team and still makes time for JKL every week. Throughout her years in the program, Zarriah has had a blast riding a horse for the first time, going to Cavs games on a regular basis and really embracing what it means to be grateful.

“I have learned a lot in JKL and I really loved taking part in the gratitude circle, attending community service events and not taking the small things for granted”. She plans to pursue a computer science degree with a focus in cyber security. We have no doubt that Zarriah is going to help change the world with her positive energy and leadership!

Janaya and Jada

Janaya & Jada
Venice H.S., Los Angeles

Twin sisters, Janaya and Jada have been faithful JKL students at Venice H.S. since freshman year.

Both have been very active in pursuing their unique goals through the JKL online programming this year. Janaya was able to develop her cooking skills, incorporate new ingredients and create recipes from scratch. Jada found support for her weight loss journey by joining our world calisthenics and strong nation workouts.

Despite the positive experiences they both had with online JKL programming, attending school via zoom had its challenges. Luckily, the JKL monthly Mental Health Monday sessions helped these sisters navigate the semester.

As they approach their last year of high school, they are focused on their academics as they are both hoping to attend a Historical Black College University. “Jada and Janaya are superb and exemplary JKL students who work hard in their academic growth and endeavors. Their leadership and dedication is a pleasure to watch” – Joy (JKL instructor).

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