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Last updated: 2004
Berenise dreams of one day working with troubled teens that have been abused or neglected. Her goals of being of service to young people in need stem from her desire to transform her difficult past into something positive that others can learn from. At a young age, Berenise encountered harsh lessons that most adults will never experience in a lifetime. Her home life was plagued by violence, neglect and alcoholism, from which she fled two years ago. She eventually ended up on the streets as a runaway. When she returned home, she discovered that her mother had deserted the family and that her three sisters had been placed in foster care.
Berenise is taking honors and advanced placement classes and is working hard to achieve her dream of going to college. Her optimism enables her to see her experiences as a life lesson that has helped make her who she is today: a strong, compassionate, and empathetic young woman committed to helping others in similar situations. Berenise’s school counselor describes her as, “an exceptional person who has survived a horrible childhood and come out of it a strong, caring and focused young woman. She has overcome adversity and it has made her a powerful role model for others.”
The Children’s Defense Fund is proud to recognize Berenise as a 2004 Beat the Odds® honoree.