Succeeding in Education – Roberto & Millie

Succeeding in Education: Roberto & Millie

This year COMPASS Youth Collaborative reconnected 109 youth to education, one of them was Roberto. When Roberto started working with Peacebuilder Millie Guzman, he lived with paralyzing trauma, was gang-affiliated, and failing in school. But Millie saw something special in Roberto; she believed he was capable of more, especially in school.

Millie knew to help Roberto; she would first have to gain his trust. Millie began by ensuring Roberto’s basic needs were met, that he had stable housing and healthy food to eat.

Then she started showing up at school, attending school conferences with him, and working with COMPASS’s education coordinators to ensure Roberto was on track to graduate.

Building a transformative relationship isn’t a straight line; there were a lot of starts and stops. Roberto didn’t always make appropriate decisions. But every step of the way, Millie was there. She was relentless, never giving up on Roberto, and she did not let him give up on himself.

Roberto still has work to do and goals to reach, but he is on his way. A few weeks ago, Roberto was in the center and said to COMPASS CEO Jacquelyn Santiago Nazario, “when I had someone who believed in me, I couldn’t settle for a zero.”

Read more about how COMPASS Peacebuilders help Hartford’s youth