Tracy T.

YMCA Center for Community Impact

Middle school is already a jungle of challenges for most students, but Tracy was also struggling with an extreme pressure to succeed academically. Her parents are immigrants from Vietnam, and because they didn't have the same opportunities for education, she does everything she can to make them proud.

Because of the stress to perform well, Tracy found herself completely overwhelmed and overworked. That's when she was introduced to Fahren Johnson, a YMCA program director who runs the after school program at First Creek Middle School.

"Fahren always talked to me when I needed it," said Tracy. "I have a lot of emotions, and when I talk to her I feel better."

Through regular meetings, Fahren helped Tracy prioritize her activities and goals. Having an outlet to express herself gave Tracy the confidence and courage to be the opening speaker at the Annual Youth Summit, something she never would have done a year ago.

"It's tough to go through things as an adult, but to go through it at that age, you don't always know how to communicate what you are feeling," said Fahren. "Now Tracy is a different girl. She's choosing things that are important to her, and reaching out to other girls with similar issues."