Tyler students say Ambassadors of Compassion program changed their lives

Tyler students say Ambassadors of Compassion program changed their lives

TYLER (KYTX) - The national leadership program that came to Tyler for the very first time this year, is about to come to finish up, and local students say they're forever changed.

We've reported several times on Ambassadors of Compassion, a program meant to help teenagers find themselves and plan goals for their future.

11 weeks ago, five John Tyler High School students signed up for an after-school program called Ambassadors of Compassion, because they thought it would look good on a job or college resume.  
Then just a week or two into the program, the students realized this was much more than a resume booster.

"Do you think you know yourself better today than you did 12 weeks ago?" asks their AOC coach Ken Hawk?

They all nod and smile. 

"You think you're better for it?" he asks. The question answered with a resounding, "Yes."

This program is life-changing.  
"I completely forgot about having it on my resume," says John Tyler Junior Alex Arellano. 

Instead, he found himself focusing on the change he started seeing in himself.  

"Overcoming some major obstacles in life that no one would imagine over coming," Arellano says. 
He and his four friends met with AOC Coach Hawk once a week after school, talking about personal issues, future goals, and ways to help their community.  
"The most exciting part of this program was actually going to the East Texas Food Bank, which was my first time doing something good for my community," Arellano says.
As the program is winding down, some of the students don't even recognize themselves.
"First of all I have more compassion. and then I have more confidence in myself," says John Tyler Junior Isaac Urieta. "I used to ponder about my future like, 'What's going on? What am I going to do?'"
He says Ambassadors of Compassion helped him and his friends see college as a reality.  
"Where do you want to go to school?" we asked them.

Arellano smiled and said, "Texas A&M."

Urieta quickly said, "First start out at TJC for basics and then NYU for a writing degree."
The guys say they owe their confidence to Hawk.  

"Really it's mind blowing," Arellano says. "Strangers coming up to your life and helping you realize who you are and it's really helped me out."

Every single one of them say they can't wait to sign up for the program again next year.  

The program officially ends next Thursday, May 29.  The students will all get to go to a closing ceremony at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, where they'll meet lots of famous actors and athletes who are Ambassadors of Compassion.  


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