Privacy issues prevent us from featuring many of the young
people we have or are currently mentoring and offering non-traditional
support. A few, however, have agreed to have aspects of their personal
story shared on this website. Below are a few such success stories that
are still unfolding.
At Risk Youth Finds Mentor and Resources to Graduate
from High School and Create and Exhibit his Art.
Curtis, a Hispanic and Native American teenager had been
virtually homeless for much of his teenage years. In his senior year,
when he learned he would not graduate from High School because of absenses,
he found a mentor and resources to reclaim his life. Today he is serving
in Americorp as a conservation team leader in Central Alaska where the
photograph to the right was taken. (Read
Young Poet Published
Augustine spent years in the Youth Authority system for gang related
activities survived tremendous neglect and abuse by writing poetry. Catalyst
mentors helped him submit his work to LaRevista Magazine and
he was published in the Spring of 2002. (Read
some of his poems)
Writer Published in DeBug Magazine
was twenty-two when he was arrested for graffiti for the first time. At
twenty-three he wa incarcerated in the Santa Clara
County’s Work Furlow Program for drug use. During that time he found
friends and mentoring in Catalyst and in the staff of DeBug Magazine:
The voices of the young and temporary. When he was released,
he enlisted in junior college and wrote two articles that were published
in DeBug magazine. (Read articles)
Young Artist Exhibits His Work & Now Runs
Heart of Chaos Artisan Collective
a 25 year old artist gets his second chance to exhibit his work at the
Youth on Fire Exhibit and then goes on to show his work at other place
in San José including in the Phantom Gallery program. Today he
is a director on the board of WORKS/San Jose, a non profit art gallery
in charge of the children and family workshop program and he is the newly
appointed Assistant Director of the Heart of Chaos artisan collective.
Talented Illustrator Turns His Life Around
and Launches His Art Career
on the Heart of Chaos Website
Antonio, a 24 years old Hispanic male, has spent seven
years of his life in San Quentin for gang related crimes. Throughout his
life, a consistent thread was his interest in drawing. Antonio is a talented
artist and illustrator who is now creating a new life with art at its
center. His illustrations range from creating an elaborating design that
was subsequently tatooed on his back to a series of portraits of rap artists
created using only letterforms.
Young Woman Artist Gets a Hand Up to Continue
One of Catalyst's mentorees, Tracy, was born to a single
mother in the late sixties. When her mother eventually married, her new
stepfather gave her his name. Although the marriage didn’t last,
a second marriage would shape her path in definite and significant ways.
Her new stepfather was a man named William Hyde. He was a writer, a gambler
and an avid, if not careless, advocate of hallucinogens. Tracy left home
at age 16 and joined the military to escape a home environment that continued
to be unstable and detrimental to her emotionally and physically. In the
military, however, she was almost killed in a car accident and was subsequently
Returning home she found herself in the same environment
that she had joined the military to escape. She decided to move to Hawaii.
Struggling to survive without a formal education or training, she became
a stripper and then a prostitute. The bleakness of her life on the streets
and its lack of promise pushed her into a deep depression. In the midst
of this dark night of the soul which lasted several years, she was introduced
to Kung Fu. It was the light inside the dark. This martial art discipline
restored some of her confidence and renewed her desire to be a painter.
Today she is passionate about painting and enrolled as a graphic design
student at Brooks college where she is meeting the challenge of becoming
computer savvy and design literate with the help of a Catalyst mentor.
Her curiosity (1969 year of the monkey) and thirst for knowledge continues
to motivate her in school while her bold paintings (see Heart of Chaos
artist list under Tracy) nourish the deeper threads of her creativity.
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