End of Year Celebration

End of Year Celebration

Our End of Year Celebration is one of our favorite days of the year. We get to celebrate our students’ hard work and determination of achieving their goals and finishing their school year. It’s a special (tear-filled) day for us as we reflect on the resilience of our youth and honor their individual accomplishments. 

We want to share a special thank you to each person who gave so generously to Luggage for Life. This new campaign was born of out of the desire to help equip students as they take the next step in life. For many students, this was the highlight of the party! Most students don’t own a suitcase. This was a gift of hope – empowering students to bravely go, better equipped for what’s ahead thanks to  your support! 

Our Life Coaches, who walked with these youth all year, shared their highlights from the celebration. 

From Amanda

"My take-away from the end of the year party was the reaction that all of the senior students had when they were presented their suitcases. The looks on their faces were priceless. One of my youth came up to me and said with a huge smile on his face “I’m taking this to college with me!” He then talked about how he has never had a suitcase like that and was thrilled that it was his favorite color. To be able to provide the youth with luggage to take to college with them was such a joy and seeing how much it meant to each one of them was so special. After the suitcases were given to the seniors, one of my students who is a junior this year asked if they would be getting suitcases next year when she is a senior. She was already excited and looking forward to next year because of the impact that the suitcases had. Another take-away of mine was giving out individual awards to each of my students to recognize their commitment and hard-work throughout the year. It was heart-warming to see the smiles on their faces when they received their reward. It has been such a blessing and a joy over this school year getting to see students take steps towards success and healing. It is such a privilege to sit with these students and get to walk alongside them through the ups and the downs."

From Juliane

"One of the first things we do when we start meeting with a new student is that we have them fill out a Youth Questionnaire Form. As I was looking through my new students questionnaire form, I saw that her answer for the "What do you feel you are good at?" question was "nothing." As I got to know her, I found out that she had been held back multiple times and is currently a 17 year old in 9th grade. She mentioned having a difficult time with reading and writing. As I started meeting with her, we started to practice spelling words and reading books. I immediately noticed that it was a challenge for her, but she did not give up. She would keep practicing and reading even though it could be frustrating at times. For the end of the year celebration, my award for her was to recognize her perseverance. As I was talking about her and the ways I've seen her persevere amidst the challenges that have been thrown her way, I saw a sense of confidence and pride over her face. I asked the students if they felt like the awards they received matched what they viewed of themselves. I noticed that she had the biggest smile and nod compared to everyone else. I was reminded of why we are life coaches. To help students recognize that they are stronger than they think. That there is support for them at school to help them thrive."

From Dom

"My name is Dom Monjaras Salazar and I serve as a Life Coach for the students at Lincoln High School! There are moments that shake my core and leave a heartfelt imprint on me. One of those moments was when a youth of mine told me that she will be getting checked for breast cancer! It made me feel for her and worried for her having to face a situation like cancer as a freshman. I shared this with the Life Coach team to keep her in prayer before her appointment. I followed up with her shortly after her appointment - discovered that despite the symptoms, she doesn't have breast cancer! As a Life Coach, one of the things that makes me empathize with the students the most is when they are struggling with basic life needs. One of my students disclosed that he and his family do not always have enough to pay for groceries. My youth mentioned they sometimes get food from the Inspired Vision church, but it doesn't last for the whole week. I referred him to the Dallas ISD Resource Center South and a couple other food services as resources. I'm grateful to be able to connect youth with the support they need - either personally or through other resources in the community!"

From Joanna

"There were a few really impactful moments that stood out to me from our End of Year Celebration. It was really neat seeing students come together and have an opportunity to receive recognition from us as their Life Coaches, but also to have students sit and witness their peers receive recognition as well. In a world of so much competition and comparison, there is something valuable about students having a chance to encourage, support and celebrate one another. All of the students, not just the seniors, were enthralled by the suitcases given for Luggage for Life! Non-seniors were bummed that they didn't have a chance to go home with one that day, but were excited at the thought of receiving one as their Senior year parting gift. Seniors were thrilled to receive the luggage, and several mentioned that it is the first piece of luggage they've owned."

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