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Mosaic Artwork for MyYelle

My’Yelle | Georgia

I grew up in New Orleans, but my life was turned upside down when Hurricane Katrina forced my family to relocate to Texas and then Georgia. I found a caring adult in my school who became a huge part of my life and helped me improve my attendance and grades. With my reignited confidence and drive, I plan to attend Xavier University or Spelman College to pursue my dream of becoming a cardiologist.

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I was so excited for my high school’s prom. My site coordinator, Ms. Barnes helped me get ready for the dance, making sure I had a dress, shoes and jewelry so I could feel beautiful and part of the celebration.

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Cheerleading Sticker

I was a social person growing up, but after my brother’s passing, I became more introverted. When I joined my school's cheer team, I grew closer with my peers and began to break out of my shell once again.

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Luggage Tag

A trip to New York City with Communities In Schools of Atlanta was a defining moment for me. On the trip, I met other young ladies who had life experiences like mine. I realized that in life, it’s not about how you fall—it’s about how you get up.

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New Orleans Map

Hurricane Katrina devastated my hometown of New Orleans, and my family lost everything. We relocated first to Texas, and then to Atlanta, but my love of my home city has never faded.

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Cross Necklace and Teddy Bear

My younger brother was my best friend. He passed away when I was 16 years old. Before he passed, he gave me a teddy bear for Valentine’s Day. I keep the bear with my brother’s crucifix necklace, which I sleep with every night, reminding me of our strong bond.

MyYelle – Cropped Portrait

My’Yelle is a senior at Creekside High School in Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up in New Orleans, but her life changed when Hurricane Katrina forced her family to relocate to Texas and then Georgia. My’Yelle met Communities In Schools of Atlanta site coordinator Priscilla Barnes, who became an integral part of her life and helped improved My’Yelle’s attendance and grades. Now confident and driven, My’Yelle plans to graduate from high school and attend Xavier University or Spelman College to pursue her dream of becoming a cardiologist.

How did Hurricane Katrina change life for you and your family? What do you miss about New Orleans?

After Hurricane Katrina, we had nothing. We had to start all over.
The only things we had were the clothes on our backs and the shoes on our feet. Even though my family had nothing, the experience pushed us to continue on and better ourselves. We become more determined to succeed in life.

What I miss the most about New Orleans is the environment. It’s so peaceful, yet exciting at the same time. And the people—regardless of your circumstances or where you’re from, the people of New Orleans take you in like family.

42 %

of 4th- through 12th-graders from areas affected by Hurricane Katrina qualified for a mental-health referral. Osofsky, Osofsky, Kronenberg, Brennan & Hansel, 2009

What is the biggest challenge facing students today?

The biggest challenge students face is not
having a support system at home or at school.
Some students aren’t even in a stable environment.


What is something about you that others don’t always see?

Others don’t always see my true emotions, like when I get stressed, or any other emotion besides excitement or happiness. Most people can’t tell when I’m going through things because I don’t wear my emotions on my face, and I don’t complain about what I go through.

I kept pushing regardless of the odds against me.

What is one thing you want the world to know about you?

I want the world to know that I kept pushing regardless of the odds being against me, and I will not let anyone that comes into my life become a statistic.

What is it like to be on your school’s cheerleading squad?

Being on the cheer squad is great. It has become a family outside of my original family—we support one another through all things. I feel great being on the cheer team because it’s my outlet and my way to express myself.

What kind of books do you like to read?

I love the Harry Potter series—everything about those books amazes me. I also recommend To Kill a Mockingbird and Fahrenheit 451. I will
sit in one place all day and read a book about almost anything.


What is one thing your Communities In Schools coordinator told you or taught you that you’ll never forget?

That it’s okay for me to be happy for myself and to be selfish with my time a little bit. You can’t make someone else happy if you aren’t, so my happiness comes first.
My site coordinator also taught me to be responsible for my actions, regardless if they’re good or bad.


Tell us about your Communities In Schools trip to New York!

My trip to New York was amazing. It was my first time taking a plane, which was by far the scariest part. During my trip, I visited CNN, YouTube, the Brooklyn Museum, BET, CBS, and the Federal Reserve Bank. While visiting these amazing places, I was able to network with top TV executives who put me in touch with contacts at my dream colleges. The entire trip was great—I loved every single bit of it.