“My whole life everyone told me I wouldn’t graduate. I didn’t want to be another statistic and it made me want to fight more and go back to school. Learn4Life is the best decision I made for myself.”

"Learn4Life showed me there are still people who can accept you for who you truly are. Learn4Life is my safe space.”

Israel’s Story

The suicide-attempt rate for transgender people is nearly 41% in the United States. Israel was not comfortable with his body and struggled a lot during his youth but didn’t want to be another statistic.

 

“My whole life everyone told me I wouldn’t graduate. I didn’t want to be another statistic and it made me want to fight more and go back to school. Learn4Life is the best decision I made for myself.”

"Learn4Life showed me there are still people who can accept you for who you truly are. Learn4Life is my safe space.”

As a youth, Learn4Life graduate Israel wasn’t comfortable in his body. He had a hard time expressing himself and would self-harm. Israel is a 19-year-old Latino transgender man and grew up in the Foster system. He is the youngest of five kids and lived in different Foster homes with his siblings until the age of twelve, when he moved into a group home. Israel had 14 different home placements and 12 different schools. He didn’t do well in traditional schools and was really behind in credits but that did not keep him from graduating high school. “I was really behind in school but I knew I didn’t want to be another drop-out statistic.”

He enrolled at Learn4Life and began his journey to graduate. Learn4Life helped Israel by learning about his background, experiences, and obstacles, and providing him a safe place to learn. The independent learning environment and one-on-one attention helped him feel comfortable and motivated. “Learn4Life showed me there are still people who can accept you for who you truly are. Learn4Life is my safe space.”

At his graduation, Israel was the commencement speaker and attributed the supportive teachers, staff and safe learning environment in helping him attain his goal of graduating.

Now, Israel is working towards a license in clinical social work and child development. He would like to attend the University of Southern California to obtain a Master’s degree in social advocacy to be able to work with youth in a therapy setting. In the meantime, Israel is already involved as an advocate in the community. He held an internship at the Department of Children and Family Services with the Youth Engagement Project to advocate for other transgender youth. He is also working with Angles of Change through Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a program for transgender youth to raise money for support groups and resources. In addition, he volunteers for the California Department of Social Services to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and foster youth.

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