TAFFORD, Va. (ABC7) — Jasmine Jimenez, 14, has lived a life on the move; frequently changing residences throughout her childhood.
“I do this all the time starting new schools. I think every grade I was in, I was in a new school.” Jimenez said.
Her parents’ military jobs took Jimenez and her younger sister from California to North Carolina to Virginia.
“It’s really hard, you don’t know anybody. You don’t usually grow up with a lot of kids. You don’t really know the next school you’re at,” she said.
This past fall Jimenez started eighth grade at H.H. Poole Middle School in Stafford where she immediately benefited from the Anchored4Life program.
“It’s a student leadership program that helps other students that are brand new to the community and brand new to our area that could be military affiliated just get acclimated,” said Counseling Director Tiffany Ford
California native Jasmine Jimenez was a newcomer at her middle school this school year. Now she’s using her experience to help other new students make a smooth transition. How the program works tonight @ABC7News at 5. #education @SCPSchools @HHPMUSTANGS pic.twitter.com/nu88T2Lloj
— Kellye Lynn (@ABC7Kellye) April 23, 2019
“I would describe it as a place where people can be themselves and where they can come to people for help,” 13-year-old Avery Johnson said.
Students from each homeroom meet weekly for leadership training where they learn how to provide the support new students need. Services include school tours, one-on-one lunches, and a welcome backpack.
“Two pencils, we have My Connection cards which will help you connect with students,” Kenneth Achille said as he revealed the contents of one of the backpacks.
Anchored4Life helped Jimenez transition into her new school, now she’s joined the group to return the favor.
“I want to give back; at least talk them a little bit and understand what they’re going through,” she said.
Anchored4Life also engages students in community service projects.