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
“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.