Youth Highlight: Christina

“I was determined to make the most of the opportunities OPP gave me.”

Christina’s early life would defeat many other people.

Homeless, without parents, from a family that struggled with addiction and mental illness — Christina learned early that survival meant planning. But high school was tough. Then she found OPPortunity Academy.

“I went in with six credits. I came out with 15 in my first year there. I took every course I could.”

The supportive environment and small classes helped Christina. She says, “They’re miracle workers. It was really good to feel I could actually accomplish things.”

Christina graduated in 2015 and went straight to OPP’s Workforce Development department to help get her on the right track to her goals. She decided to become a paramedic. “I see things people need help with. And I feel like I can do it.”

She finished EMT classes and also volunteers with the Portland Fire Department. Her next step is police work. Her goal is to do all three: police, fire and EMT. “I can try to save one person at a time. I want to make a difference in every field that’s possible.”

Christina returned to OPPortunity Academy for this year’s first day of school to talk with students. She told them, “Take every opportunity you have because it won’t always be there.”