“Kala” is a 19-year-old African American female. Kala’s school counselor, Mrs. Keala Edwards-Cooper, referred her to the PATH Program when she was a senior at Carver High School. Kala’s primary goals upon enrolling into the PATH program – due to problems she was having at school and with law enforcement – were to graduate from Carver and go to college.

The Preparing Adolescents to be Tomorrow’s Heroes (PATH) Program is a federally-funded, faith-based initiative designed by Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute to transform at-risk youth and increase their employability.

Kala was very hesitant about the program in the beginning, sometimes refusing to participate. After giving the program a chance, Kala understood how beneficial it could be. Kala’s participation increased, allowing her to gain valuable knowledge on goal-setting, effective decision-making, and college and career goals.

Kala participated in a restorative justice activity in an effort to give back to her neighborhood. She volunteered at a basketball tournament with other members of the community at the Lang Carson Community Center. Kala completed a variety of tasks including assisting people with finding their seats, checking people in, assisting the staff at the concession stand, and providing water and towels for the players.

In the spring, Kala proudly received her diploma from Carver High school. By working hard and setting goals for herself, Kala made additional strides and was accepted into Miles College, located in Birmingham, Alabama. Kala was so excited when she moved into her dorm room and began classes. She is currently doing well in school, attending classes everyday (and on time), and making plans for her future.