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).


Hanna, JKL Student

Freshman JKL student, Hanna, like many other students across the country, started her high school experience entirely virtual. When she realized the COVID-19 pandemic was staying longer than anticipated and online learning would be her new norm, Hanna decided to join the New Visions JKL afterschool program.

She had the benefit of hearing many positive reviews from her cousin, a JKL alumni. It was the JKL program that helped launch Hanna into a fun weight loss journey! Since joining the program Hanna has lost 21 pounds through fun, high-energy dance classes and sweaty HIIT workouts.

Mental Health Mondays have been a highlight for Hanna getting through stressful school days and coping with being an only child at home. Hanna expressed, “Mental Health Mondays have encouraged me to keep my head up during the times I felt alone and provided me with calming breathing techniques for when I start overthinking.” After Hanna completes high school, she would like to obtain an engineering degree focused on coding while also pursuing an acting career. ”

Hanna is a student who is full of wisdom and energy… No matter what is going on, she sees the positive and brings light to everything she is involved in. Hanna has been such a great asset to our JKL program,” says Ms. Byers. We look forward to seeing Hanna and the New Visions JKL program continue to thrive!


Jordan Moore: Manual Arts JKL Program, Los Angeles

Like many programs, due to COVID, JKL has had to pivot and offer our weekly programming online in a creative way! For some students zoom fatigue has become a reality while others are making it a priority to utilize online resources. Jordan from Manual Arts High School is one of the JKL student’s taking advantage of our weekly resources and online programming. Jordan explains, “The JKL program has helped me become more confident in dealing with situations that I struggled with. Mental Health Mondays has really allowed me to use the tools that our taught to deal with my stress”.

During the pandemic, Jordan has acquired some newly found cooking skills and has decided to eat more vegetables while removing soda and candy from his diet. We are so proud of Jordan and we love watching him achieve his goals. Jordan is Senior and may not get to experience another in-person JKL session, but he is forever grateful for the nutrition knowledge, community service events and guest speakers that have given him such great perspectives on life.

“Jordan is a young man who will be successful in the future because of the confidence he has and his ability to always think in a positive way” says Mr. Simpson, JKL instructor. Next Fall, Jordan will be enrolled in a California based college studying graphic design!


Freshman JKL student, Riley Branum is a jocular and fearless leader who exudes positive energy and dedication.

Riley was fortunate enough to attend 1 of 2 high school campuses that offered JKL programming in hybrid format last fall! Once Riley learned about the elements of the JKL program, especially community service and gratitude, she was all in! Riley explained, “It’s nice to know we give back to our community, it is something I have been doing for long time and it’s very important to me”.

Upon entering high school, Riley had a lot of issues with anxiety and self-doubt. Riley has found a safe haven in the JKL program where she can share her creative passions and become a peer leader. “Riley loves deeply and cares for everyone. She is a great friend to others and is always there when needed. I am very proud of the young lady she is becoming”, said Ms. Hester.
The East Laurens JKL program just completed its first semester and has already made some successful strides. There was strong student engagement during a campus beautification project and a great mentoring collaboration with their local elementary school. First year programs with awesome students is a recipe for success!

We look forward to seeing Riley and the East Laurens JKL program thrive this semester.


Fremont High School

Perla graduated from Fremont High School in 2017. In addition to being a member of just keep livin program, Perla also was a letterwinner in soccer, volleyball and track.

Currently she is attending University of Nebraska at Kearney. (UNK) where she is a Junior majoring in Sociology and playing soccer. Prior to transferring to UNK, Perla attended East Los Angeles College for two years where she helped the Huskies win eight games and tie 11 others over the 2018-2019 season for soccer.

Perla was twice named All-South Coast Conference North Division and the the SCC North Division in goals (18) in 2018.

Mya Hickman

Mya Hickman
New Vision Humanities High School, New York

A once timid, shy and reserved freshman, Mya from New Vision Humanities in New York, took the advice from her counselor and joined the JKL program.

Mya is now a thriving, outspoken sophomore student who remembers that day vividly. She explains, “I had such a shell and was very shy and there were so many people in the cafeteria for the JKL meeting, but I decided to get out of my comfort zone and I haven’t turned back!” Now with the JKL program being 100% virtual, Mya is still taking advantage of each session and hasn’t missed one yet.

Getting a chance to hear from WWE Super Star R-Truth and have weekly Zumba classes have been the highlight of her semester so far. Although she is still uncertain about when school will be back in-person, Mya is not complaining.

Since Covid, she has become more focused with school work and keep remaindering herself to “not be afraid to try new things.” JKL Instructor, Ms. Byers states, “Mya is a student who overcame academic obstacles and fitness challenges. Mya is a model JKL student who fits in just perfectly in our JKL program.”


Ballou H.S | Washington D.C.

Remote learning has created a barrier for student participation in many classrooms and programs around the world. Luckily, we have been able to pivot and reach some resilient students who are eager to log back on to the computer after countless school day zoom meetings. Kamari, from our Ballou JKL program, is one of those students!

Since we have launched online programming this Fall, Kamari has had 100% participation. Sessions with Officer Ryan Tillman, Vote.org, Monthly Calisthenics workouts and a high energy interview with WWE superstar R-Truth were some of his favorite JKL sessions so far. During Covid, Kamari has missed being in person for JKL programming and band practice, but that didn’t stop him from getting creative.

Kamari started cooking healthier meals, participating in weekly drum pad practice sessions with friends via zoom and recently got inspired to start jogging with his mother after hearing about our JKL Fall Virtual 5k. Kamari is dedicated to keeping up his school work and JKL sessions for the year and is looking forward to laughing and having fun with friends soon! Once things settle, Kamari would like to take a trip to North Carolina to see his family. We appreciate Kamari’s engagement level and dedication to the JKL program and look forward to seeing him in person in the near future.


Venice High School, Los Angeles
JKL Graduate 2020

Recent JKL Venice High School Alum, Madahi wasn’t able to cross the stage for graduation this year like so many of our other JKL seniors across the country. She still stands tall and full of positive energy with summer coming to end and college on the horizon!

Since the pandemic, Madahi has been able to focus on her newly discovered vegan diet and zero waste lifestyle, which she credits to what she learned in the JKL program. She explains, “when I was in the Venice JKL program it definitely opened eyes to trying new foods, being healthy in my choices and always giving back to the community. My best friend and I have been on a vegan journey and we are loving it!”

Although JKL meetings didn’t take place in person during the late spring semester, Madahi was still committed to giving back to the community. She has been collecting donations to send protective gear and school supplies for farmers and their children in the San Jose area. A once shy and non-motivated student, Madahi is now ready to take on the world and reach her full potential. This Fall, Madahi will start college with a dream to one day have a place in forensics sciences. We wish nothing but positive energy and support for Madahi aspirations.


We had the pleasure of catching up with Duane, a sophomore from our New Visions JKL program in NYC.

Duane is an inspiring visual artist who loves to draw people. He also enjoys listening to heavy metal music and constantly challenging himself with different workouts. Duane was once the new kid on the block, but JKL has helped him to develop friendships in a safe and fun environment.

Last semester, Duane enjoyed learning how to ice skate, sharing in the gratitude circle, giving back to his community and learning the importance of incorporating fruits and veggies into his diet. Duane dreams of becoming a professional graphic designer and architect and we are certainly rooting for him to achieve his goals!


Sophomore student, Brianna, from our Longview JKL program is embracing her creative energy and making her mark on campus.

Before joining JKL, Brianna struggled with self-confidence and the ability to be proud of her own art. “Since the start of our JKL program last fall, I have watched Brianna grow into a confident and outgoing young lady who has had perfect attendance” – Ms. Clark.

Brianna is an aspiring young artist who is gaining inspiration from the weekly gratitude circles, CrossFit workouts and peer to peer motivation. The just keep livin program has provided a safe and encouraging space for Brianna to share her passions and be accepted for who she is. Things like volunteering at her church, anime art and love for Korean pop music culture are all embraced.

After high school, Brianna would like to become a veterinarian and travel to Korea! We can’t wait to see Brianna blossom into an amazing person!


First year transfer student, Nykeevia at Carter High School in Dallas, is embracing the JKL program to enhance her overall high school experience.

Upon arrival to Carter HS, Nykeevia felt left out as a new student because she didn’t have the opportunity to establish new friendships. Once JKL instructor, Coach Cross, made Nykeevia aware of the program, all of her anxieties started to go away. “Nykeevia is a very friendly and helpful JKL student.

She still tends to be shy, but once she warms up she fits right in with her JKL peers”- Coach Cross. Nykeevia has found a voice in the JKL program by expressing herself during the Gratitude Circle which has helped her build new friendships. Nykeevia loves the positive environment, healthy nutrition demos, and the motivation her peers provide her during workout activities.

Nykeevia is on a mission to improve her eating habits and incorporate fitness training into her daily life. She is drinking more water and removing chips from her everyday diet. We are so happy to have Nykeevia join the JKL family and can’t wait to see her blossom in the program!


Meet Yomerly, a sophomore student from our new JKL program at the Brooklyn School for Social Justice in New York.

Yomerly, a once shy girl that lacked confidence and friends, has found her safe haven within the JKL program. She is an inspiring poet and avid journaler. Yomerly reports that socializing is a bit easier with the help of the gratitude circle and peer-to-peer support during fitness activities.

“Yomerly is a respectful and highly motivated young woman. She has attended every JKL meeting and represents the result of a student who truly immerses themselves in the JKL program.”- Ms Chu. We are excited to see Yomerly thrive with our JKL program for years to come.

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