From a very young age Joanna struggled with an unstable home life. Her mother left when she was in preschool and her father was murdered when she was eleven. Despite these early traumas, with the help of Juma, Joanna has developed an inspiring amount of strength, courage and resilience.
Joanna enrolled in Juma as a sophomore in high school. Before Juma, Joanna never imagined making it to her senior year of high school, let alone college. She recounts the positive impact Juma had on her life: “I went from not having any support, to supporting myself, to being supported by everyone at Juma.”
With her earnings from the ballpark, Joanna saved over $3,000 for college and demonstrated remarkable leadership working in a youth leadership position. Joanna graduated form high school and is the first in her family to go to college.
Since 1993, Juma has helped thousands of kids like Joanna reach their goals. Juma’s program combines employment in social enterprises, college preparation and financial asset building to create a safe, supportive community where low-income youth can achieve their dreams of a college education. Over the past 20 years, Juma has transformed into a national, award-winning youth development program in eight cities.
Juma is the answer to a troubling crisis—more than one-third of America’s college students, and half of all minority students, fail to earn a college degree. Studies show that early work experience predicts success in the workforce and directly correlates with educational and personal success later in life.
Despite the many challenges facing Juma students, they also possess significant assets. They are resilient, positive and show great determination in the pursuit of their goals, continually demonstrating tremendous promise and success when provided with opportunities to excel. That’s why Juma is here: to provide these students with the tools and resources they need to overcome barriers, maximize their potential assets, and successfully transition into a life of higher education and greater success.