Angel grew up in Ogden without a stable family. His mom wasn’t in his life much, due to drug use and jail time, and his dad was often working out of state. Once he got to 9th grade, he started going the wrong direction and got involved with drugs. “I was messing up pretty bad,” he admitted, spending time with the wrong crowd.
Things turned around toward the end of 11th grade, when Angel met Ariana, United Way’s Family and Youth Specialist at Ogden High. “She got me to grow up,” he said. Ariana worked with Angel to help him focus on making up failed classes, attending school every day and going to all his classes, and staying on top of his current schoolwork. He didn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary, he said, just “showing up on time, trying to do the best I could.”
Angel also helps take care of his sisters and had a busy work schedule outside of school. Despite these extra responsibilities, he was able to finish his make-up work, pass his senior classes, and graduate on time with the rest of his class, making him the first person in his family to graduate from high school. He has now started a full-time job, and hopes to go to school for technical training to become a certified welder and electrician.
United Way partners with local schools and other agencies to be able to provide in-school resources, such as Family and Youth Specialists, to help students and their families overcome many types of challenges. With the support they need, students are able to succeed in school and graduate ready for college and career opportunities.