Moving America Forward

This Young Woman Is Helping Struggling Teens by Truly Seeing Them and Caring

January 29, 2020
In partnership with
This Young Woman Is Helping Struggling Teens by Truly Seeing Them and Caring
Claudia’s traumatic childhood could have darkened her future. Now she works to brighten the future for those in her Newark, NJ high school facing similar struggles.

At age 5, Claudia emigrated with her family from Chile to the United States, but the experience was hardly the American Dream. She lost her sister to a drug overdose and experienced PTSD from living with domestic violence. But instead of these experiences breaking her, they broke her open and helped her create a better life.

She knew she was not the only one living with trauma in her Newark, New Jersey school. So after college, she returned to help others overcome their challenges and succeed in school. She started Future Leaders Accomplishing Intellectual Readiness (FLAIRNow) to break down the walls faced by students of different backgrounds and give them the skills to start a career. 

She learned to accept the bad in the world and still see the good. Every day, she says, her students teach her how to keep turning the bad into good. 

This article was created by Weave: The Social Fabric Project of the Aspen Institute. Weave supports people who live in a way that puts relationships and community first. These “Weavers” lead with love and defy a culture of hyper-individualism that has left Americans feeling more lonely, distrustful and divided than ever. See their stories and learn more here.