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Drive On, Thrive On

Dec 15, 2021 | YOUTH STORIES

Growing up as one of five kids, Athina remembers a chaotic home. Her father, an abusive alcoholic, wasn’t in the picture. Her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer when Athina was 12. Alone and scared, the children had no one to care for them while their mother was sick and dying. Athina had to grow up fast and took on the role of “mother” to her younger siblings. Luckily, a family who’d heard about their situation took them all in, becoming their legal guardians and providing a more stable environment.

Athina first got connected with JIT in 2018 while studying at San Diego State University as a Guardian Scholar. With her driver’s permit about to expire, she quickly joined our Changing Lanes service and thanks to JIT, Athina was able to get the lessons she needed to obtain her license.

“It not only gave me a feeling of independence, it has also opened up opportunities to do things I couldn’t do before,” shared Athina. “Like if my mom needs me to drive one of the kids, or for emergency purposes.”

Now Athina has set a new goal of getting a car! She’s already sought initial advice from the JIT team and plans to utilize the Auto Access service to help her get into a reliable and affordable vehicle.

“I know I have Just in Time to help me go through that process. And I know I have the support to help me figure out how to do it,” said Athina. “Some programs just guide but what I’ve experienced at JIT is completely different. It feels more like a family of people supporting me. It’s really blown me away how much support I’ve gotten. Way more than I ever imagined!”

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