Click the video above to watch how Angel Morales turned his troubled life around with the help of the Tampa Y’s Teen Achievers program and a very generous donor.

At age seven, Angel Morales and his family escaped an abusive stepfather, but the situation worsened. “My mom’s new man just came out of jail. I started to get abused every day,” shares Angel. “After six years of pain and torture, we finally got taken away from my mom.” 

After a year in foster care, Angel reunited with his family and he got back on track with the Tampa YMCA’s Teen Achievers program. The college and career readiness program helped Angel move up from a 1.9 to a 3.5 GPA at Blake High School. 

At the Y’s 2017 annual Regions Community Impact Dinner came a big opportunity. Angel’s video testimonial brought the audience to their feet. One generous donor in the room, Henri Jean, immediately offered to pay for Angel’s full college tuition. “God’s given us a lot of great gifts in this life and it’s our turn to give back,” says Henri. “When I got to see where Angel came from, how hard it was to get to where he is, it was simply a calling. 

Angel was speechless and emailed Henri stating, “I’m happy because you actually care and were willing to help me and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’re changing my life for the better and I want to let you know that I will not stop being hungry for success and I will never give up. I will reach my dreams and achieve them. That’s my promise to you. I won’t let you down. Thank you for everything.”

Thanks to Henri, other caring donors and the support system at the Y and school, Angel graduated on time and is now training with the U.S. National Guard. He plans to get a master’s degree and start a career in politics. “I’d like him to continue to do well, push and achieve. I’d like him to jump out of that (poverty) cycle. He’s chasing his MBA. He has a right to do all that. He’s earned it,” says Henri. “We simply need to make sure he has all the resources to get to that point.”

We invite you to watch Angel’s full journey in this updated testimonial video shared with nearly 500 guests at the 2020 Regions Community Impact Dinner. “This program has always been and always will be the greatest program I’ve ever been a part of,” says Angel. “It has opened up great opportunities for me. When you donate and you support these types of programs, you give another kid a chance.” 

Thanks to gifts to the Y, each year the Tampa YMCA helps 440 teens, like Angel, reach their full potential and their goals.