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Working his way to Independence

Hertier is 19-years-old and a rising junior in high school. He was born in Democratic Republic of the Congo. When he was a baby his family fled to a refugee camp in Burundi. He spent 16 years in the camp, where the conditions were poor and life was rough.

When he came to the United States at age 18, he was enrolled in the ninth grade. He quickly earned a place on the honor roll and was advanced two grade levels.

Hertier comes from a large family, headed by a single mother who cannot read and speaks limited English. He helps his mother and siblings in numerous ways including with their schoolwork and paying the bills.

CCC helped Hertier enroll in the Mentoring Youth in Virginia (MYVA) program where he was matched with Victoria, a passionate and dynamic volunteer. Together they are working on his goals of attending college to study medicine and getting his driver's license. This summer, Hertier passed his learner's permit exam and bought a car with earnings from his summer job.

As part of the MYVA program Hertier received a computer to help him continue learning and assisting his family.

"Hertier continues meeting regularly with his mentor to improve his writing skills and transition to online learning this fall," said CCC MYVA Coordinator Betsy Hale. "He is a highly motivated and bright young man and it is a pleasure watching his hard work pay off."

About MYVA

For the past three years CCC has served refugee youth ages 15-24 through the MYVA program in a partnership with the Office of New Americans and the Virginia Department of Social Services.

This program matches youth with adult mentors to pursue education and career goals, improve self-esteem, and encourage community and civic involvement. Mentors and students connect weekly using phone, email, Zoom or Facetime.

This story was originally published in the Fall issue of Chronicle.

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