Valeryn's Story


When Valeryn entered the ASPIRE program as a very shy sixth-grader, she already felt like giving up on school. She was trying her best, but her grades were Ds and Fs. Her parents weren’t able to help as much as they wanted to because of a language barrier, and Valeryn was discouraged and frustrated.

At ASPIRE, the staff helped her complete her assignments and provided tutoring to help her catch up, but despite all her efforts her grades didn’t reflect the work she was putting into her education. Eventually, her FCA case manager suggested she be screened for a learning disability. ASPIRE staff walked her family through the process of getting Valeryn evaluated by the school, and it was determined that she qualified for Special Education services.

With an Individualized Educational Plan, or IEP, in place, Valeryn began seeing her grades improve. And along with As and Bs on her report cards came more confidence. Valeryn said she answers questions in class and speaks up now when she never would have before.

Over time, Valeryn said ASPIRE became her “second home.” She turned to ASPIRE staff first when she had personal issues and her case manager stood beside her, literally, when she addressed a difficult topic with her mother. FCA continues to be in touch with Valeryn’s school to work in collaboration and ensure she is receiving the accommodations she’s entitled to. And Valeryn is learning to advocate more for herself by emailing her teachers directly and speaking up when she needs something.

“Without ASPIRE, my grades would be very bad and I wouldn’t have gotten the help I needed,” she said.

Now, Valeryn is an honor role student with plans to attend college, and FCA is very proud of her progress. 



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