United Way knows that when we invest in our community’s children and give them a good education and help them develop life skills, they will become productive citizens that care about their community. Tyra is a special young woman who is a perfect example of a Successful Kid.
When Tyra was 16 years old she began to have problems with her mother, she sought help from a school counselor who referred her to Youth and Family Services, a United Way Partner Agency focused on strengthening families and creating safe environments for children.
Tyra soon moved into one of the agency’s independent living apartments, where she paid a nominal fee each month. She was able to escape her troubled home and work while finishing high school. After about a year in the program, Tyra moved in with her grandmother and helped to run her daycare center.
“The programs at Youth and Family Services have had a major impact on my life,” Tyra says. “To have a mentor who will guide you on how to deal with a situation, rather than let it destroy you, is amazing. They taught me skills on how to cope with the problems my mother and I have.”
The staff at Youth and Family Services also saw something special in the teen. As part of its summer program, Tyra and her peers designed and built a ropes course and a walking trail at the agency’s shelter. The program instilled a great sense of pride into these students and taught them how to take a project from vision to reality.
Tyra exclaims, “This was a once in a lifetime experience. Everyone should have the opportunity to do something like this.”
Completing the graphic design program at Canadian Valley Technology Center, Tyra is interested in furthering her education at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City.
Tyra explains, “I’ve got hopes and dreams I can make come true; with a little guidance I’m making it happen.” She continues, “We need more programs like this so that young people would have something positive to do with their lives.
Addison was born with a rare combination of Down Syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis and has battled many diffi cult challenges in the fi rst few years of her young life.
Like all working parents, Addison’s mom and dad wanted to feel comfortable with the place she spent her day. Typical day care centers are not conducive to Addison’s needs, therefore her parents needed a place where Addison couldAddy learn and thrive. United Way Partner Agency Special Care is a day school tailored to fi t the special needs of children like Addison. Spending her days at Special Care has allowed Addison to achieve and surpass educational milestones set forth by her doctors. In addition to serving special needs children, one-third of Special Care’s population is typical children, including Addison’s younger brother.
Through United Way funding, Special Care and other Successful Kids programs are creating lasting changes in the lives of thousands of children like Addison.