My name is Kytara and I’m 16 and attend an academy in Camden. Middle school was a struggle for me, and I almost didn’t graduate the 8th grade, but I found my place at my current school and have done really well. I am now an honor roll student and a street leader for the afterschool program, and was recently chosen among my classmates to represent my school and go to Miami to run camps down there this summer.

My story is very different than most of the youth at LUCY. While all of my friends have mothers in the 30s, many that were teen moms, my mother is 60. My brother died before I was born but I have 3 awesome older sisters, in their 30’s and 40’s. I’m 27 years younger than my oldest sister and my middle sister is 20 years older than me to the day (we have the exact same birthday)! The funniest part is that many of my nieces and nephews are older than me so they try to tell me what to do. I have lots of aunts, uncles and cousins in the city too, and spend most of my time with all my family members.

Right now I live with my Mom and middle sister. Although I love Camden, and my neighborhood, it’s hard being around the drugs and violence all the time. I watch people selling drugs on almost every corner in the city and that makes me sad and frustrated. Other than that, there are a lot of things that I love about Camden. I love my school. I love LUCY and all the adults and youth there, I love my neighborhood (which isn’t really bad) and I love my favorite corner store, in North Camden, called Litwin’s.

I wanted to share my story because LUCY is special to me. LUCY’s been a second family to me since I was in middle school. It’s the one place I can go and be myself and never feel judged. I really love them, especially Ms. Kristin, for all the hard work she has done. One day I hope to help her and come back to LUCY and Camden and be a positive example to other youth for the better.

My plan right now is to graduate high school in two years. I want to go to TCNJ to study criminal justice and get my Bachelor’s. Hopefully I can become a Crime Scene Investigator like I watch on the TV show CSI. For now though I just want to work hard and enjoy being a teenager.

God Bless you for learning about our program and us.

Love, Kytara

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