High School: Atlantic City High School
Hometown: Atlantic City
Parents: Horace Hendrix and Laurinda Hendrix
Community/school activities: ACHS Hope 4 AC Club — St. Nicholas Catholic Church (Food Bank); Stockton University 16th annual MLK Day of Service; April Marathon on the Boardwalk; Shirley Mae Run & Michael J Walk on the Boardwalk; The Atlantic City April Fool’s Half Marathon on the Boardwalk; making hygiene bags for the homeless after school; In My C.A.R.E. Mentoring Program Inc. — Grateful to Serve Thanksgiving Event at Jeffries Tower; ACHS Z Club — 10th annual Walk, Run, Survive 5k for Lung Cancer Awareness; ACHS Z Club — Atlantic City Marathon.
Post-high school plans:Attend Atlantic Cape Community College for two years, then transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree in studio arts/graphic design.
Career goals: Multimedia artist or graphic designer.
As someone who was mentored in the Youth Exposure program at the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City from 2014-2016, Maya’s strengths include creativity and inclusion. She continues to assist with multiple programs in the mentoring program, where she provides input, makes newcomers feel welcome and serves as a voice to the group. Maya describes herself as a “strong person” and says that it’s been her strength that’s helped her keep her focus even as she’s battled depression. Her message to others: “Everyone deserves support.”
In what ways do you think your struggles with depression affected you?
I was very distant and falling behind. In school I found it hard to concentrate, but I managed to keep my grades and GPA up. Once I got the help I needed, I was able to regain my focus and my strength. With my depression under better control, I am now much happier, excelling in school and school clubs, and volunteering my time in the community.
How do you think your community goals will evolve?
While in college I will continue with my community work. I will seek out organizations where I may volunteer my time. I will also reach out to mental health organizations as well.
What are your career goals?
After college, I plan to pursue a job as a multimedia artist or graphic designer. Art is my passion. In my spare time, I would like to dabble a bit in game design. I am fascinated with the characters in video games. I believe somewhere in my adult life, I will become a mental health advocate. Becoming an advocate will allow me to tell my story and express how I am dealing with depression. I want to be able to remind others who are struggling with a mental illness that they are not alone in their struggles and that there is hope and healing available to them. I believe everyone’s story deserves to be heard and treated with respect. No one should suffer in silence.
— Andrew Torres