Student Stories



In the wake of molestation and abuse Virginia remains grateful.

Stability is important in every child’s life. Unfortunately for Virginia, she began to incur instability from the day she was born.

When she was 3 months old her parents dropped her off with a couple they’d met at a party just a few weeks prior. She wouldn’t see her mother until she was 5-years-old. She was moved back and forth between the family she was raised by and her biological parents.

The only stable part of her life was the constant molestation.

Being too young to get a legitimate job, she had to work odd jobs and be paid under the table, but that wasn’t enough.

So she worked three jobs. Her hours were often from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m.

She was eventually forced to drop out of school as a high school freshman so she could afford to pay rent.

“I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me. I just want them to see how strong kids can be.”

It was her strength that got her to push forward and attend Austin Can Academy after a friend told her about it.

The teachers were like family to her. She loves that she has teachers to talk to because of how well she can express herself with them.

“Some of the teachers at Austin Can are like family to me. The teachers are so nice. They wanted to talk and understand me when I was having a bad day versus kicking me out if I was not listening.”

To anyone thinking of dropping out of school she says, “Before you even think about dropping out, even if you don’t believe it, try Austin Can. Anybody in Austin Can will totally change your life. I was given a scholarship. They actually want you to have a future. They don’t want you to just get a minimum wage your whole life. They want you to have a career.”

Virginia graduated Austin Can Academy a year early as the Salutatorian of her class.
She was hired to work in the office at Austin Can Academy. She was also given a scholarship and will be attending Austin Community College in January so that she can become a social worker.

“I want to help kids who are placed in a bad home and not given the opportunity to speak out,” just like the Can Academies helped her do.


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