Johileny AlamonteBy Susan MacLaury

In 2012 Shine Global was privileged to complete a short documentary, Inocente, about a remarkable 15-year-old, homeless, undocumented artist by the same name. Just now, I read about another inspirational, homeless teenager in the NY Daily News.

Her name is Johileny Alamonte. A sufferer of cerebral palsy, she came to the US from the Dominican Republic in 2008 for an operation to increase her mobility. It failed and she stayed in the states for ongoing treatment. Tragically, her mother died of cancer in 2010. She now lives in a NYC shelter with her 67-year old grandmother and her 16-year old brother.

It’s hard to imagine how one so young, suffering so many hardships, maintains any sense of optimism, let alone the determination it takes to become valedictorian of one’s high school class, but Johileny is on track to be named top student in her graduating class at Juan Morel Compos Secondary School. She’s been accepted at two local colleges and is one of 12 students who will be recognized by the Garden of Dreams charity at Madison Square Garden. She will receive $10,000 over four years but she needs more help. If you want to help her build her college fund the non-profit Roads to Success has created a fund for Johileny: Donate here

Watch this short documentary about Johileny to learn more:

Everybody’s Different from Josh A. Kapusinski on Vimeo.

If YOU know of any children or teens who you feel deserve special acknowledgment, please contact me at susan (at) shineglobal (dot) org