Alyhria Carey, JKL Student
East Laurens High School, GA
East Laurens student Alyhria Carey has found her tribe in the just keep livin program. She tributes the JKL program for having such a significant and positive impact on her life. Alyhria was a timid student from 9th to 10th grade until joining the program.
Once she was fully committed, her grades improved, her social life enhanced, she established new friendships and was selected for the homecoming court!
“My favorite part of JKL is the community service because you get to see the smiles on the people’s faces you are helping, and you get to create more bonds.” Alyhria has great energy and is looking to continue to utilize the JKL program experiences and resources. After high school, Alyhria would like to enlist in the National Guard and become a registered nurse at Savannah State College. We look forward to seeing Alyhria shine this semester and beyond!
Samantha & Jorge , JKL Students
Animo Inglewood, Los Angeles
Samantha & Jorge are stellar students who represent our Animo Inglewood JKL program.
They recently had the opportunity to speak at our annual board meeting. Both Samantha & Jorge articulated a passion for the JKL program and the benefit of utilizing all the resources JKL brings to their campus. The organic, welcoming and safe environment they both spoke of helped them establish great friendships and gave them a safe place to fully be themselves.
The JKL l trips and first-time experiences were highlights, but the bond and respect created with their JKL instructors was the true highlight. Samantha and Jorge are both Seniors this year and are looking to end their high school years with a bang and keep the JKL mission alive well into their college years.
Jada, JKL Student
L.B. Landry High School, New Orleans, LA
JKL student, Jada from our L.B. Landry High School program, is passionate and brightens any room she walks in!
Jada is going into her fourth year in the jkl program. She has had a chance to participate in many activities, from mountain biking and kayaking, to learning how to double-Dutch and incorporating healthy foods into her daily routine. Although Jada doesn’t consider herself an athlete, her most recent JKL first-time experience with Pickleball has changed that. “I’m not really into sports, but pickleball was fun, and I can get into it.”
Her favorite element of the program is community service, and her most memorable experience was feeding and singing for the local homeless community. She explains, “in JKL, not only is your body getting better, but your soul is getting better from meeting new people and serving the community.” After high school, Jada wants to pursue a degree in theatrical arts at Coppin State University in Baltimore. Jada has a bright future ahead of her and we can’t wait to see her shine!
Saydi, JKL Student
Uvalde High School, Uvalde, TX
Uvalde High School student Saydi is a leader in the making who benefits from the jkl program, but at first, was skeptical. “I thought the program would be corny until I saw them always cooking and learned that Ms. Silva was leading jkl,” expresses Saydi.
Once she officially joined, she has since embraced the nutritional element of the program. Saydi has become better at following recipes and incorporating more veggies into her dishes. Saydi loves taking food home for her parents to enjoy. Community service is another element of the program Saydi has embraced. “It’s so much fun doing things for my community; I love having the chance to do face painting in the park and putting smiles on the little kids’ faces,” says Saydi.
Uvalde High School has only had one semester of jkl and Saydi is looking forward to a full year of programming all while getting ready for college applications! After high school, Saydi would like to pursue a degree in Marine Biology at Texas A&M Corpus Cristi. The jkl instructor, Ms. Silva says, “It is the most rewarding part of my job to see the amazing transformation of empowerment run through Saydi’s self-esteem and all aspects of her personality.”
Cynthia, JKL Student
Animo South Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Our just keep livin’ program name intrigued ASLA junior, Cynthia, to see what we were all about. Little did Cynthia know she would open the door to a new world. “I Learned how to manage my time better, eat better and not let things stress me out. Jkl is a place of peace for me, a stress-free environment with lots of support,” says Cynthia.
She has just completed her first year in the jkl program, and her passion for the outdoors is through the roof! Program highlights such as hiking trips, learning how to surf, and running a 5k race has made a lasting impact that turned into a passion for living an active lifestyle. “When I’m at home, I can’t sit in my room for hours just scrolling on social media.
I must go outdoors and explore, it makes me feel good, and I get my family involved,” says Cynthia. She has intentionally embraced our four pillars (Community Service, Fitness, Wellness, and Nutrition). Cynthia’s energy is contagious, and she is an ambassador for the jkl programs that will keep the spark of the ASLA program going. After high school, Cynthia would like to pursue a degree in Criminology and work for the police department and give back to her community.
Zachary, JKL Student
Carver High School, Houston, TX
A bright young man named Zachary from our program at Carver High School in Houston, Texas is a natural-born leader who has made his mark. Despite his struggles, Zachary’s positive outlook on life has brought encouragement and new energy to the program. “If everyone had the spirit that Zachary has, the world would be a much better place.
Zachary is the kid that every teacher prays for,” says our jkl staff member. The jkl program has given Zachary more structure in his fitness approach and opened his eyes to the importance of gratitude. “Hearing other people say what they are grateful for gives me an outlook on what to be grateful for,” expresses Zachary. He has only been part of jkl since the beginning of his senior year. Still, he has led multiple workouts for his jkl peers and is leading the charge on program recruitment. We will miss Zachary’s kind heart and passion, but we wish him luck in becoming a real estate agent and providing his community affordable housing options. Make your dreams happen, Zachary!
Damian, JKL Student
Morse High School, San Diego, CA
Here at just keep livin, our after-school programs are open to all, and no student is turned away. Morse High School in San Diego, CA is an excellent example of the inclusivity we have within our programs. A junior by the name of Damian, who also has different/special needs, is thriving and has found a great community and safe space in the jkl program.
“Damian was new to Morse two years ago, and jkl helped him to become an active member of the Morse High School community. He has formed friendships within the group and has become more outgoing in classes,” expresses our jkl instructor. Since joining the program, Damian has dropped a few pounds, is implementing healthier snack options, and is giving his all during fitness activities. There have been many first-time experiences, but his recent rock climbing experience is something Damian can’t stop talking about. “The jkl staff supports me and respects everyone who comes in the program. I like jkl a lot. It makes me happy,” says Damian. It is incredible to know with certainty that we close the gaps to provide a great, fun and safe space for all students to be involved!
Max, JKL Student
Cesar Chavez High School, Houston, TX
Max’s cousin witnesses the jkl program thriving on the Chavez campus and this is where Max’s connection began. Fitness was the bait that hooked Max into the program, where he developed a passion and consistency for fitness. “I never worked out before jkl, so participating in the fitness activities helps me and makes me feel good,” says Max.
Nutrition was another component that opened his eyes. Volunteering to help maintain the jkl garden provided enriching experiences, from having nutrition sessions utilizing fruits and vegetables straight from the garden, to learning about the planting process. “Max is a charismatic and dedicated leading member of our jkl club. It has been a delight to see him become more confident and outspoken,” shared a jkl staff member. We are excited to have Max in our jkl program and looking forward to seeing his growth!
Sumiyah, JKL Student
Northtown High School, Chicago, IL
Meet Sumiyah, a dedicated sophomore from one of our newest just keep livin programs at Northtown High School, in Chicago, IL. Since the inception of the JKL program, Sumiyah has not missed one session and has taken full advantage of the JKL resources.
Before joining the program, Sumiyah had trouble expressing herself, however, she has found her voice and community through the weekly gratitude circles, fitness and nutrition activities. “Sumiyah has been with JKL Northtown since our first day this year. Her calm and thoughtful energy brings so much to our group, and other members look to her for support and guidance,” explained Evelyn, a JKL Instructor. After high school, Sumiyah would like to honor her mother by becoming a nurse. Sumiyah’s mother wanted to be a nurse but faced many roadblocks early in life, including being a single parent. Sumiyah said, “I want to make my mother proud of me, and her seeing me pursue a degree in nursing would make her so proud.” Sumiyah is such a great student, leader, and daughter. We are cheering for nothing but joy and achievement to come her way!
Cullen, JKL Student
Stratford High School, Arlington, TX
The Stratford high school just keep livin program is approaching its second semester and has already acquired some great students. Cullen is one of the most dedicated students in the program and is on a mission to take advantage of the fitness and community service opportunities.
Cullen explained, “…embracing fitness routines and activities makes your life easier, creates discipline, and gets you out of the house. I truly enjoy participating in the community service element of the JKL program. I want to keep giving back to my community and meeting new people.” It is not every day that you meet a young man with such strong purpose.
In speaking with JKL instructor, Mr. Vargason, it was stated, “Cullen combines the playfulness of youth with the maturity of a man twice his age. Being around him is both a memorable and rich learning experience. Watching him grow and interact with his peers this semester has been a pleasure.”
Cullen still has a few more years in high school, but once he crosses that stage, he has his eyes set on Tennessee State University to study robotic engineering. The Stratford JKL program is in good hands! We are excited to see the growth and leadership involvement Cullen will take part in for years to come.
Cindy, JKL Student
Sam Houston High School, Arlington, TX
Cindy, a senior from our Animo City of Champions jkl program, has been on a two-year journey of self-discovery. Joining the jkl program during the pandemic was exactly what Cindy needed. She found herself with no energy and a very low desire to work out.
In the jkl program, both virtually and in person, Cindy has learned more about how resilient her physical body actually is and she has been enjoying the process. “When I first joined the program, I wasn’t able to do a squat or push-up. Now, I have better form and confidence and have witnessed my growth with exercising in general,” says Cindy. Our nutrition and community pillars of the jkl program have also kept Cindy engaged.
Incorporating more fruits and veggies in her diet as well as carrying the spirit of gratitude is what Cindy has implemented with her family. She has plans to keep this up as she enters college. After high school, Cindy would like to get a degree in marketing or early child development and attend her dream school University of California, San Diego. We are cheering for Cindy and look forward to seeing her thrive in college!
Khulthum, JKL Student
Sam Houston High School, Arlington, TX
Khulthum is a 13-year-old junior (super impressive!) from our Sam Houston High school jkl program. Approaching her 3rd year in the jkl program, Khulthum is a fierce leader who has taken full advantage of the jkl offerings. “She shows up at our meetings with a smile on her face and kindness in her heart! Khulthum was also elected by her peers to be our just keep livin president for this school year” said Ronda (jkl instructor).
There have been so many first-time experiences for her in the jkl program. From cooking and eating ramen for the first time, to helping the SPED population on campus through community service work, to fully embracing the gratitude circle. Khulthum explained, “jkl is a great safe space where you learn a lot and have great leaders. I have become more social and able to be my true self in the program.”
When Khulthum isn’t reading her favorite book, Chronicles of Narnia, or leading a cheer at practice or attending key club meetings she is thinking about her goals after high school. Gaining a degree in bio-medical or aerospace engineering is the goal. We are so excited for the levels of excellence Khulthum will reach! She definitely embodies the jkl spirit and attitude.