The Agents of Hope program is HFO's creative staffing solution providing 10 high school juniors and seniors with a paid internship and HFO with tutors for our younger kids. This program is truly a partnership where Love is changing everything. Meet our 2015 Agents below (click the image to zoom in on the image):
“This program is changing the lives of kids who feel like they are in a place where they are unable to succeed. It’s a doorway to a better life of opportunity. HFO called the leader out in me and helped me mature to value education. HFO is giving kids a chance to succeed!” - Jersten Serille
Four years ago we created a program called "Agents of Hope". This program takes students that are juniors or seniors from local high schools and pays them to be our crew of mentors while preparing them for the next steps after college. This program has been graciously funded from its inception by our friends at the Pugh Family Foundation. Their leadership and wisdom has helped us continue to improve our programing and for that we are forever grateful.
Recently they asked if we could give an update on some of our Agents to see how they were doing. This prompted us to do a survey to all past AOH staff and what we have learned has blown us away.
Today we are highlighting Mr. Jersten Seraile, 2012 Graduate:
1. What has been your educational journey since high school?
I attended a two-year conservatory riding a full scholarship to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. Within my program I’ve participated in many shows including; Othello, Macbeth, Henry V, August Wilson plays. After gradution I chose to stay in NY and this fall I’m transferring to the NY Urban Life school, where I will pursue my BA or BSA. My full scholarship will transfer to this new institution. I plan to audition for Julliard in January 2015.
2. What is your current vocation?
I am currently living in Louis Delaware, working for Clear Space Theater Co. This fall our tour will be preforming Oliver and the Full Monte.
3. Tell us about your major life experiences since high school.
Moving to New York was a major life experience. It made me love Louisiana even more. I have found that it has helped me transition into adulthood, causing me to become more responsible.
4. Has there been a formative experience or take away from your time as an Agents of Hope that has helped you since graduation?
The thing that has helped me the most is the patience I learned working with difficult students. This has helped me to achieve my goals. Big goals don’t happen fast. Even if I don’t reach my goal, I just need to work hard and know results will follow. Working with HFO kids helped me mature as an individual. It made me a leader working with kids from my hometown.
5. What current goals are you in pursuit of?
I really want to finish up with school and begin my career and become a successful actor. I am interested in starting a theater program down south for kids that come from a poor neighborhood.
6. What would you want to tell our donors?
This program is changing the lives of kids who feel like they are in a place where they are unable to succeed. It’s a doorway to a better life of opportunity and guidance for their future. It gave me the guidance to work hard and pursue my dreams. Before HFO I was just focused on graduation and getting a job but it called the leader out of me and helped me mature to value education.. Looking up to other college interns made me want to be like them. HFO is giving kids a chance to succeed!
We have shared many stories on our blog about senior HFO staff and of the students who are members of our tutoring program--but have you heard about our Agents of Hope? The Agents of Hope (http://hopeforopelousas.org/hope/agents-of-hope/) program is a paid internship we offer to High School students, funded by a generous grant from the Pugh Family Foundation. During the semester-long internship, these high school employees have the double task of helping manage our tutoring program, as well as completing a leadership development and job training program. We are excited about this opportunity to invest in the community by hiring High School seniors here at HFO.
She would tell the world that she loves her family and friends, and that she is planning on becoming a “family practitioner.” She thinks that dedicated and caring teachers are what Opelousas needs most. She says that maybe if students had these positive influences they would care more about their lives and their actions. She is a positive influence on our students and we expect great things from her in the future!
Watch out, world! Miaya said if she could tell the world one thing, it would be that she is proud of who she is and that she can’t wait to see who she will become. She must enjoy her work here at Hope for Opelousas, because she said that what Opelousas needs most are positive activities for kids to engage in. We are pumped to have her working at HFO!
In the future, look forward to meeting more of our Agents of Hope here on the HFO blog!
This year we have been blessed to have eleven high school Juniors and Seniors working in our after school program. We would like for you to meet them.
My name is Brittany MyKayla Sonnier. I’m originally from Eunice and I moved to Opelousas last year in December. I am a very caring and sympathetic person. I’m also very driven—I expect a lot of myself and I like to see others excel. Softball used to be my life, but now I am more focused on my grades and other more important things. As a junior at Northwest High School, I have dreams of going to college to become a sonographer to work in medical diagnostics, and possibly add a minor in photography (it’s one of my passions!).
Hey, y’all! My name’s Caity Soileau. I’m a 16 year old, homeschooled, graduating senior. (Class of 2013! Whoop, whoop!!) I’m planning to attend South Louisiana Community College in the fall of 2013. I’ll attend SLCC to be trained in midwifery. One of my favorite things to do includes reading. I love a good book. Another thing that I like to do, like any other teenager, is text with my friends. A couple of my dreams are to open a midwifery clinic called “Beautiful Feet Midwifery” and to become a missionary to the Inuit people in Alaska. The Bible verse I live by is Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
My name is Lance D’Andre Richard. I am a senior at Opelousas High School and am very involved in my school with various clubs and organizations such as Future Business Leaders of America, BETA and 4H. I have also been the yearbook editor at my school for the past three years, and love playing tennis on the tennis team. I love being around people and meeting new people. When I finish high school I plan to go to school for dentistry and my dream is to open my own practice one day. I am currently trying to decide where I want to go to college; it’s between Northwestern, ULM, and McNeese. I love being an Agent of Hope and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
My name is De’shira Lemons and I am a junior at Opelousas High. After I graduate high school I plan to go to college to become a registered nurse; I’d describe myself as a very loving, caring, and outgoing person. I love to have fun with my friends. I applied to work at Hope for Opelousas because I felt that I could be a help to the future of Opelousas. I love working for HFO, it’s awesome!
My name is Kee’Shon Thomas. I am a senior at Opelousas Senior High. My plan after high school is to join the military. I have decided to go that route because I think it’s going to be a very adventurous, and being a part of the military will give me a chance to see the whole world. I am graduating in 2013 and I am very excited. Hope for Opelousas has been awesome for me. I love all of the kids, my co-workers, and the staff here at HFO.
Hi, my name is Gabby and I am a senior at Opelousas High School. I plan to attend Missouri Western College and hope to continue on to a larger university to become a veterinarian one day. I love animals, especially my three GORGEOUS rats. Yes, that’s right, rats! Their names are Dumbo, Molly, and Vitka. I also enjoy chemistry labs and solving equations. Oh, and my idol is Albert Einstein.
My name is LeKeisha Renee’ Lyle and I am a senior in high school. I attend the Magnet Academy for Cultural Arts with a focus on theater. I have been there since 7th grade and love that my school is small and easy to adapt into. I also started participating in activities at Hope for Opelousas when I was in 7th grade. Since then my life has changed for the better. HFO showed me that love really does change everything. I am really excited to be an Agent of Hope because I am the only student that has worked their way up from student to volunteer to intern. It feels really good because now I can help the students, just as I have been helped. I am also really excited to be a senior this year! I plan on moving to Lexington, South Carolina and going to school for social work with a possible minor in theater. Some people don’t expect me to succeed at what I do, but I love the chance to prove them wrong.
I am Jazmine La’Shay Hampton and I am a junior at Opelousas High School. I am very outgoing and nice. I love being an Agent of Hope at HFO. I like running track and eating, especially my favorite foods—pizza and pasta. When I graduate from high school, I either want to join the Air Force or attend Northwestern State University for nursing.
My name is Courtney Renee’ Manuel and I am a senior at Northwest High School in Prairie Rhode. My favorite subject in school is math. I am interested in reading, horseback riding, and spending time with my family. After I graduate from high school, my plans are to attend Northwestern State University or Louisiana College and major in pre-physical therapy.
Hi, my name is Bruce Mayo Jr. and I am a junior at Opelousas High School. I have big dreams and goals for my life, including attending LSU, pursuing basketball, and becoming a video game designer.
My name is Trevor Anthony. I am a senior at Beau Chene High School. I plan to go to Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky where I will pursue a degree in Biblical counseling. I hope to then return to Lafayette, Louisiana and show hurting people the love of Christ through counseling. I love Hope for Opelousas and the children here. Working at HFO has been a great growing experience and ministry opportunity for me. I pray that I will be able to continue to partner with HFO in ministry in the years to come, because love changes everything!