Elijah Martinez Success Story

It can be rough growing up in a city where it seems everyone know everyone else. Growing up in Lancaster, Pa was a definitely like that. It seemed that every friend you had or every person you met somehow came full circle into knowing each other. During my primary years in school my parents moved quite often so I was fortunate to meet a lot of new people and then, come to meet them again in High School.

My parents have always instilled in me the importance of school and to be knowledgeable in many things. Regardless of any personal problems I might have endured, my parents always made sure my school work came first. Before joining Advantage Lancaster my only support system for school were my parents, they encouraged me to be involved in activities but I was reluctant. One of the first things I did outside of the regular school day was joining Advantage Lancaster. Before joining I had my reservations because I was the new girl at Edward Hand Middle School and I hadn’t really found my place yet.

Mr. Bair and Mr. Meadows, definitely helped alleviate any fears that I had about the program and doing something new. They became another important support system for me in school. They also helped me get involved in sports. I quickly learned that I was not alone in my reservations and there were other students who felt the same way. The Advantage Lancaster program became my solace and escape.

My most memorable experience with Advantage Lancaster program was our trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Mr. Bair tried to prepare us for what we would hear and see, but I don’t think anyone could have really prepared us for what we experienced there. The museum was so full of imagery and auditory stimulation it was hard not to relate to the victims of this tragedy.  The experience and the vast knowledge I gained from this trip has stuck with me for all these years. I can still see every picture and hear every word that was said that day.

The lessons I learned by playing sports and being a part of the Advantage Lancaster program has proven to be beneficial in my professional life and furthering my education after high school. I came to face with many other situations where I was reticent, but I just compared them to the risk I took joining Advantage Lancaster and the positive outcome I had. If I continued to allow my fears to keep me from trying new things I would never be where I am today in my life.

Currently I am working in the Prothonotary’s Office at the Lancaster County Courthouse. Our office handles all types of civil cases from Protection from Abuse to Divorce Filings. After high school I knew that I wanted to continue my education and I was very interested in the Criminal Justice field. I knew that was what I was most passionate about and would be most interested in. I continued my education into the Criminal Justice field and I am continuing to learn as much as I can. I received my Associates Degree in 2014 and am working on my B.A. at Albright College.  I have a beautiful daughter who motivates me every day to better myself so I can give her the best.

The Advantage Lancaster program is just so beneficial to our community in so many ways. It is such an empowering program. The resources that are available to the current participants are outstanding. I enjoy seeing so many young people like myself being successful and striving to better themselves because of the support they have received from this program. The consistency of the program mentors and instructors is so rewarding. They always strive to provide positivity in your life at any age and any stage.  

The use of social media with the program is amazing, it allows for past participants like me to stay in touch and still be a part of the Advantage Lancaster team. Although it is awesome to see the mentors’ point of views it would be nice to see some posts on the page from the students, like maybe having one student a week write a post of something rewarding Advantage Lancaster helped them with. It will help make it personal for other students and help them connect with each other. It can be a conversation started for them. Everyone going through the program sees and feels different about it, and I’m sure they can relate so much to each other if they were able to each get a chance to share.