In 1997 “Absolutely Incredible Kid Day” (March 18) was established to encourage and inspire young people. It also affords the opportunity for adults to recognize a young person and express to them how amazing they think they are. Here at Project Access, we have many incredible kids and if we recognized all of them today, we would break a record for the world’s longest blog post! So, instead we’ll showcase one young lady who has greatly impressed one of our coordinators in Tennessee (pre-COVID).

Santanna is the youngest of four half-siblings living with her mother, stepfather, and other family members at Hickory Chase. She’s a vibrant and energetic girl with a big smile but at one time she often expressed feeling bored at home after school.

Naturally inquisitive, Santanna was the first person to inquire about Project Access programs at Hickory Chase. Every few days she would check in with the Resident Services Coordinator at the leasing office, flash her beguiling smile, and ask when programs would be starting and if there was anything she could do to help. She was especially curious about when Project Access would start offering after-school tutoring (knowing she could use help with her homework).

When the after-school programs commenced in 2019, Santanna quickly became the student whose attendance far outpaced everyone else and would often stay after with the Resident Services Coordinator to complete extra worksheets. Since becoming a regular at the after-school program, Santanna has been thriving in school, attaining all As and Bs on her report cards and possessing one of the highest reading levels in her class! Santanna’s good habit of always borrowing books from the center (since she did not have any at home) may have also helped.

Santanna has shared that Project Access has taught her ways to calm down when she gets mad and has helped improve her overall attitude. “Project Access means peace, love, caring, and sharing and having a positive attitude when you step in the door. Project Access helps me reach for the stars,” states Santanna.  

Our Hickory Chase coordinator asserts that Santanna is the one resident who has made the biggest impact on her as a coordinator, and she’s delighted to see Santanna thrive! Our coordinator is sure of one thing – Santanna is a one-of-a-kind kid and has no doubt that she will be very successful in life.