To say that Jhanise Cardona had an unconventional childhood would be an understatement. With her father incarcerated and her mother facing challenges with addiction, her family moved regularly throughout her young life.  By the time she was 12, she was frustrated and asked her grandfather to take her in. She never looked back. Once she was established with her grandfather and his partner in Nashua, she was able to move forward. A friend, and former Youth of the Year, Caitlin Boucher, introduced Jhanise to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua. Jhanise quickly established a group of friends that gave her the peer support she was lacking.

For the first time since her younger days, Jhanise was able to have fun again and be a kid. She was able to leave any problems and worries at the door and enjoy herself. She attributes the Club to helping her obtain her first paying job through FLIR Systems as part of their internship program. She advocates that teens build positive relationships with the staff and get involved in a variety of programs so that they can gain new skills and opportunities.

Jhanise reflects on her time as a Club member by saying, “I went from being lonely to having a place I belonged.”

Today Jhanise is working towards her Nursing degree and working full-time in a salary position at FLIR.

“I just wanted to thank the Club and everyone that works there for being so amazing and never stopping to push me to be the version of me possible,” said Jhanise. “I could have been anywhere at this point in my life but because of the Club I am now 19 years of age, making an amazing salary and finishing my nursing degree in the process. I owe this Club everything.”