Christy Torres – uAspire First One Springfield

By: Chris Loney | Thursday, March 1, 2012

Christy Torres

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coordinator, Springfield Community Center

Christy has seen many obstacles in her life and overcome them all to set a shining example for her children and for the young people she works with every day. Christy grew up with a father who was in and out of jail and a mother who was a functioning alcoholic. Despite this instability at home, she states that she always saw college as her ultimate goal. She wanted to break the chain of poverty in which her family was held and provide a better life for her children. Unfortunately, finances kept her from pursuing her degree right after high school and she began working right away. She made her first attempt at college at Holyoke Community College, but, due to a lack of support at home, finances and a busy work schedule, she was forced to drop out. After having her children she tried again, but with children added to her already difficult situation, she was unable to keep up with the work and once again dropped out.

That would be it for most people, but Christy was determined. She was going to provide a better life for her children, she was going to set an example, she was going to graduate. A few years later she set herself to the task of applying to schools. She was all on her own and didn’t have anyone in her life who had been through the process before to ask for help. She says that that was perhaps the hardest part of re-enrolling in college: being an older student who didn’t know the first thing about applying to schools and especially how to find financial aid. She recalls that her uncle, who was more like a father to her, said that he wanted to see her graduate from college, chiding her, “I don’t ever want to see you drop out again. You’ve done that enough!” Unfortunately, he passed away prior to Christy receiving her Bachelor’s this past December. After a childhood of growing up in the projects, eating bread and butter sometimes because that’s all her mother could afford, she remembers looking out on the audience during her graduation day, seeing the smiles on the faces of her mom and children and feeling like, that day, she was worth a million bucks.

Christy loves children and teens especially, stating, “They are our leaders of tomorrow! If we don’t help them to develop into leaders we won’t have a world!” She lives this commitment in her work as a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coordinator at Springfield Community Center where she works with at-risk youth every day. There she serves as a role model, working with teens who are in the same position she once was, telling them, “If I can do it, you can too.” She enjoys working with them to plan for college and make career plans and sees ACCESS as an amazing organization and a wonderful – and much needed – resource for the young people of Springfield.

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