Anthony R., 19, is a charming, motivated, ambitious young college student. But his earlier years were challenging. He came to JCCA’s Pleasantville Short Term Assessment and Rapid Treatment program when he was 15. Although very bright, he had problems at home and didn’t do well with authority figures, especially his mom. “I was smart and got good grades, but I was angry, too, and had trouble listening. At Pleasantville, the staff, especially Mr. Harrigan, taught me how to talk about my problems and how to express myself. I learned coping skills and strategies for dealing better with people.” Anthony spent the next two years at Hillcrest, a JCCA group home. “The staff was great. I knew everybody was totally there for me and they really helped me thrive. They kept me focused and pointed me in the right direction.” At Hillcrest, Anthony learned the independent livings skills that would stand him in good stead at college. While in high school, he became proficient in track and won the Westchester and NY State Championships in Hurdles and the Long Jump. JCCA staff found him a summer job as a camp counselor, where he earned money that went toward college expenses. When he began at Monroe College in New Rochelle, Anthony was placed in a loving home with Jose Rivera in JCCA’s Treatment Family Foster Care. Mr. Rivera taught Anthony how to “stay organized and focused” as he started his college career.
“Anthony is one of a kind. He has overcome so much and has never lost sight of what he really wanted— a higher education,” says Jonna Dugan, JCCA Director of Education and Scholarship Programs. With help from JCCA’s Scholarship Fund, Anthony attends Monroe, where he is studying Criminal Justice, has a 3.7 grade point average and continues to pursue his love of track. Career options he’s considering include becoming a foster care attorney, or joining the NYPD or FBI. Anthony has amazing energy: he’s on the field for track practice at 5 a.m. and then in classes at noon! He is constantly in touch with JCCA staff and his foster and biological families. “The transition from high school to college was hard, but the staff at JCCA taught me how to stay on track. I always had goals, I just didn’t know how to get there. JCCA helped me strive for greatness and showed me how to become a better person. Now I’m trying to be the best person I can be.”