Challenges are opportunities to shine. Jazmine, a 10th grade student in the day school at Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus, shows that.

Despite her impediments, she is a model student who, since coming to the school six months ago, has matured so much that she now views good self-esteem as a reward for her success, she says.

“Jazmine has made tremendous academic, social and emotional gains,” says her counselor Melissa. “Jazmine consistently attends classes on a regular basis with a positive, determined attitude and scored straight A’s on her first report card.”

Jazmine was referred to Germaine Lawrence by her school district because her counselors felt she needed a therapeutic setting with a high level of adult support in order to be successful.

“Germaine Lawrence has been really great for Jazmine,” says her mother, Kozi. “They have a wonderful program that pays attention to her needs. She’s taking high school courses that are up to standards. If she needs help, she gets it in classes.”

In addition to Science, History, English and Math – Jazmine’s favorite to not-so-favorite classes – she enjoys Expressive and Visual Arts and Gym. But the unique Culinary Arts class – internships in the school cafeteria – interests her most. She plans a career as a cook. Her favorite food to make: the Greek spinach pie spanakopita.

“Jazmine takes advantage of any opportunity offered to her by staff. She recently assisted in choreographing a holiday dance routine with the support of her Expressive Arts teacher and peers. Jazmine is a strong advocate for her needs and regularly meets with her school counselor for support with coping skill development and post-secondary planning,” Melissa says.

“At this time we’re trying to figure out her transition from high school to after high school,” says her mother. “The Germaine Lawrence staff is working very well on that. The staff is also working on executive functioning, which has been an issue for Jazmine. The lessons are actually integrated into all her classes.

“She has developed confidence and gained independence since she has been here. It’s wonderful. And, she’s learning a lot,” her mother adds.