Lance, Carver High School

Lance is a 12th-grade student enrolled in the JKL program at our Carver High School. He is currently in his second semester of JKL and has formed a family of both new and old friends. According to MS Caldwell, “Lance is a great student in our JKL program who provides much positive energy for our gratitude circles and his passion for the arts.” Lance is also a visual artist who enjoys creating works for his fellow JKL members. Since joining the program, fitness has become an integral part of his lifestyle, and he finds it fun to engage in weekly exercises with his friends in JKL. After high school, Lance plans to attend college and earn a degree in graphic design. He is excited to showcase his skills and passion for drawing and video editing. When you meet Lance, you’ll immediately notice that he’s a leader with a lot of gratitude and art to offer the world.


Na’kalah, JKL

Since joining JKL, Na’kalah has rediscovered the joy of riding a bike, given back to the local elderly community, and made going outside a regular activity.

As she enters the second semester of JKL, Nakalah is excited to continue learning about gratitude and having new experiences. “My mother encouraged me to join the jkl program. I brought the packet home one day and told her about the fitness and giving back element, and she said she was proud of me. That pushed me to be better”.

After high school, she hopes to become a nurse with a labor and delivery focus. “Na’Kalah brings fun and energy to our JKL group. When we marched in the homecoming parade, not only did she show up, but she showed out! She is always willing to try something new; She is a joy to be around!” – Ms Spreter (jkl Instructor).

Shakiya Brown

Shakiya, JKL Student
Ralph Ellison
High School

The Ralph Ellison jkl program is off to a great start and has already gained a few ambassadors who believe in the mission. Freshmen student Shakiya is one of those ambassadors who is enjoying her time in jkl: “I love what jkl stands for; it’s more than just fitness; you learn new things like life skills and meet new people.

The group has made me want to think about what I want for myself in the future”. Since joining the program, Shakiya has found her love for helping people through community service, learning how to ice skate for the first time, and sharing the gratitude circle with her family. “Shakiya has perfect JKL attendance so far this year, actively participates in all activities, and contributes meaningful reflections and thoughts during discussions and gratitude circles.

Watching her excel in the JKL program this year is something that I am truly grateful for – Karen Long (jkl instructor)”. With 3 ½ years left in high school, Shakiya looks forward to seeing how jkl will enhance her experience. After High School, she would like to go into the medical field to become a pediatrician one day. We do not doubt that Shakiya will accomplish all her goals and dreams and continue to bring such a positive energy to the jkl program. 


Shyanne, JKL Student
High School for Innovation and Advertising in Media

When the JKL program launched this past fall, Shyanne was among the first to sign up. After a few months of learning about gratitude, nutrition, and community service in a safe environment, Cheyenne was on board.

“Through JKL, it has allowed me to get closer to my peers and advisors and has also helped me be calmer and take my wellness seriously.” The gratitude circle is significant to Shyanne and her weekly dedication to attending the program and expressing herself. Although Shyanne is a senior, she already has her after-high school plan.

Shyanne would like to study pre-veterinary medicine at Delaware State University. “Shyanne is a dynamic young lady who always rises to any occasion. She loves to be involved in all school activities. Shyanne brings an electrifying energy to our jkl program” – jkl Instructor. Students like Shyanne bring such a bright light and positive energy to our programs; we can’t wait to see what the next semester will bring her way!


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

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!

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