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Pedro Vazquez-Calderon got kicked out of middle school in the 8th grade for something that wasn’t his fault. He stayed out of school for four (4) years, and missed out on so much of life that teenagers experience in school. A few years later, his younger sister, Loyda Soto-Calderon, also had a difficult time in middle school, failing 7th grade three (3) times. In her last year, she discovered she was pregnant and her teachers convinced her to drop out, telling her life was going to be far more difficult trying to finish school with a child.
Enter: Training Resources of America, Inc. (TRA), a private, non-profit organization that operates a variety of education, employment, skills training, and workforce development programs throughout Massachusetts, including Worcester YouthBuild.
As the mother of a small child receiving public assistance, Loyda (age 17) first heard about TRA when she was referred to its Young Parents Program. From there, she learned about YouthBuild, and decided to participate in Mental Toughness. Loyda also convinced Pedro (age 22) to join YouthBuild and try to get his life back on track, despite his doubts.