The next time you hear that the younger generation is in trouble, just remember Vicente.

At 17 years old, he works part-time, volunteers at the Trinity River Mission (TRM), participates in clubs at his school, and keeps up his grades.

Vicente is a student at the Lassiter Early College High School, which offers college-level courses concurrently with high school basics. In spite of his many obligations, Vicente will be graduating high school and, at the same time, receiving his Associate’s degree.

Vicente, who is incredibly well-spoken and composed, is quick to credit Trinity River Mission, a United Way service provider that provides volunteer-based learning center with afterschool, summer, and weekend programs, for much of his success. “Trinity River Mission has helped me throughout my entire life,” he explains.

Vicente started going to TRM in the fourth grade, and he explains that he wasn’t sure about coming back, but the familial environment drew him in. Almost every day since then, Vicente has been at TRM. There, he flourished, thanks in part to the investment of the staff and volunteers of TRM who are passionately committed to the children and families they serve.

TRM is more than just a place where children and families come after school or on the weekends; it’s a consistent and effective support system that develops children over many years, exemplifying the United Way spirit of helping children from cradle to career. Vicente is a prime example of this kind of long-term academic and personal development.

Even as a child, it became clear to the staff at TRM that Vicente had special skills and abilities. Vicente jokes, “I’m very outgoing, I guess you could say.” The staff at TRM helped the very talkative Vicente develop his speaking and communications abilities, providing him opportunities at staff and donor events to tell his story. They helped him understand marketing and how to reach people through written and spoken word.

“TRM has gotten me a lot of places,” Vicente explains. He talks about how the trust and confidence he gained at TRM helped him to make presentations in class, and even helped him become a cast member on School Zone Dallas, the television station of the Dallas Independent School District.

Now, with his Associate’s degree under his belt at the tender age of 17, Vicente has big plans for the future. “I really have no limit. Nothing is going to discourage me.” With the skills he’s learned at TRM, Vicente wants to pursue Marketing and Advertising.

He says that without TRM he knows he certainly wouldn’t have graduated from Lassiter Early College High School, nor would he be as motivated as he is today. Vicente says that he wants to spend at least one year teaching, because he’s personally seen the effects that it can have on a person’s life.

Vicente sums up why TRM means so much to him: “It’s about what you can become as a student and as a person.” Vicente is shaping up to be extremely successful on both accounts.