This #MDC Network produced video, directed by Paige Bierma, tells the story of how mentor Shavonnee Clark gave Maria Barajas support, how Maria grew stronger, and become the 1st in her family to go to college. The video was part of a series produced for Thrive Foundation for Youth, to highlight successful paid staff, youth mentoring programs it's funding across the country. 




Thrive Foundation for Youth

Thrive Foundation for Youth

This story was created for Thrive Foundation for Youth as part of a eight part video and written word series on effective youth programs across the country.

By Rob Waters

I visited Chicago in January when it was very cold and two issues were dominating the local news. A stream of stories focused on police shootings of young black men in a city where 70 people—mostly black males—were fatally shot by police from 2010 through 2014. And the city’s school district, faced with a deficit of nearly $1 billion, was hatching plans to close more schools while the governor and some legislative leaders threatened a state takeover.