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Beating the Odds

CIS of Miami
Mental Health

Mature beyond her years, Te'Nya is determined to break down the barriers of negativity that surround her and seeks to serve as a role model to other young women looking to achieve their goals.

Determined not to become merely another statistic, Te’Nya is determined to finish her high school career at the top of her class.

She says her favorite subject in school is math because she enjoys the challenge of breaking down complicated problems and finding a way to solve them no matter how hard or difficult the situation might be.

And indeed, Te’Nya applies that same attitude to breaking down the barriers of the negativity that surrounds her. She remembers being told that before she would finish high school, she would become pregnant and drop out of school. 

Te’Nya was first introduced to CIS during her freshman year at Homestead Senior High School. Due to her fun-loving demeanor, it would surprise most that she was enduring internal turmoil. Communities In Schools of Miami site coordinator Mariafe Rivera befriended her and, in their one-on-one sessions, she soon discovered that Te’Nya was having daily emotional struggles after the death of her godmother.

“She took this death very hard, but rather than allowing this take a toll on her, she did one of the bravest things any young person can do; she asked for help,” said Rivera. “She would come to my office and through our one-on-one student sessions, she would share how she was feeling in order to learn ways to cope with her pain.”

While dealing with her own pain and grief, she bravely took on the burden and challenge of finding help for a loved one in need of a positive, safe, and stable environment.

 “I’ve lost a lot of close people in my life, but with every loss it has helped me not to give up and keep pursuing my dreams.”

No matter what challenges may come her way, she strongly believes that through her education she can find the outlet to achieve her goals. After graduating high school, Te’Nya wants to attend college and become a neonatal nurse.

Learn more about Te'Nya from her feature in Glamour's The Girl Project.

- August 2015

In Florida