Join Us: OPP’s 2017 Annual Celebration on May 24, 2017

Join Us!

May 24, 2017
the YG Club at Dunkin’ Donuts Park
1214 Main Street in Hartford
5:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Join us for a night of food, fun and stories of resilience and inspiration. With a silent auction, great food, delicious drink, and inspiring youth, we promise it will be a night to remember!

For more details or to buy tickets, click here.

For more information or any questions, call 860-761-7371 or email Info@OPP.org.


Youth Highlight: Juan

“OPP is a blessing. It’s opportunity. Take advantage of it.”

Juan Rivera is looking for a place of his own.

Growing up, Juan fell in with the wrong group of friends. He got into trouble. He started missing school. Then his dream to become a marine was dashed when he was rejected as disabled.

So when he arrived at OPPortunity Academy, Juan brought a bad attitude with him.

But that changed quickly. Juan realized how many others would love to have his spot. With OPP’s guidance, he buckled down. “You work hard enough; you get things you want.”

His new attitude carried him through OPPortunity Academy, and into Asnuntuck Community College with OPP’s manufacturing program. The first in his family to go to college, Juan took every opportunity and every internship OPP offered him.

But would he find a job?

OPP set up an interview with a manufacturing company, where Juan began a three month internship. Then he was offered an apprenticeship. Juan was on his way.

Juan has almost completed his apprenticeship. Completion means a nice wage increase. Now he can look for his own place: an apartment or even a house.

Juan’s been back to talk with students at OPP. He tells them, “It’s overwhelming when you first start. But it’s so worth it in the end.”


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.”


Youth Highlight: Taha

“I’m so ready to prove myself worthy.”

Can passion turn a life around?

Taha (left) was bullied in school. So he skipped it and hung out on the streets, instead.

He was held back. His grades were poor. “I was just trouble,” Taha says. “I had to make a change.”

Then he took a music class. Taha fell in love. “Music had always been on my side whenever I felt bad. It kept me calm.”

He desperately needed more structure, though. That’s when he found OPP. “They saw I was into music and taught me the ropes.”

Music was the focus he needed. And OPP gave him the opportunity to learn about the music business at their Hartford youth center.

“I really wanted to do it for myself. I wanted to show myself that I can do something one day.”

Taha is now a senior at Southern Connecticut State University. He’s studying music and communications.

He founded the school’s first Studio Club, where he shares his love of music production with other students. “I’m going to graduate with a degree, and hopefully go back for another one.”

But he hasn’t forgotten how OPP changed his life. “I would love to be part of a music program for kids. I could do for the m what OPP did for me.”


Youth Service Corps assisted with the cleaning

Earlier this year, the Youth Service Corps assisted with the cleaning of the The Citadel of Love Church. Youth helped to clean out the basement of the church and assisted with the reorganization of the basement overall. Lookin’ good after some hard work!

 


Happy Pi Day!

It’s 3.14! Happy Pi Day from your friends at Our Piece of the Pi(e)! In honor of Pi(e) Day, check out these apple pies that our youth in Eastern CT made last November for a community dinner at Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Norwich. They’re so big, we wish we’d thought to use pi to figure out the pie’s circumference…Pi for Pie!