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SCaN Youth Program is Changing Lives

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Batavia Harris is a 22 year-old African American woman who lives on the South side of Chicago. Batavia is an alumna of Roberto Clemente High School and currently works two jobs. She was born and raised on the South side of Chicago in a single parent household with eight siblings. Being the second oldest, Batavia had a lot of responsibilities growing up and wasn’t able to enjoy her childhood. By the time she was 14, Batavia joined a clique and engaged in acts of violence. Batavia also started smoking weed and selling drugs by the age of fifteen to help her mother out with household necessities, and helped to create some financial stability for her family. Batavia suffered from violent parenting and had to grapple with a teen mother who made her grow up too fast. At an early age Batavia got into a lot of trouble, and was homeless by the age of sixteen. Batavia was living from friend to friend, and sometimes slept in parks, trains and under bridges. After being suspended from school multiple times, the school made it clear that if she did not change things around she would be expelled. 

During this time in her life, Batavia found someone she could open to and confide in at Roberto Clemente Community Academy. Batavia was able to slowly get into therapy and was determined to enroll into SCaN and make a change. The SCaN program was able to find her housing, employment, and provide her with many different forms of ancillary support. Batavia is currently twenty two years-old, and is still making changes. She plans to enroll in college and continue progressing. Batavia is motivated and continues to show great  ambition. Batavia now has her own apartment, works two jobs full time, and will start college in the fall. Batavia came to The Puerto Rican Cultural Center with hope, but in need of real resources and support. Change is possible, but only if there is a real infrastructure in place to help make the difference.

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