Demi joined Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans in the sixth grade. Her brother, Nick, had graduated from the program and was urging Demi to apply.
“The Girls Hope home opened when Nick graduated, and he felt like it would be a good fit. At first, I said no, but after a couple of years I told my mom I would like to join and we took a tour.”
Demi settled in quickly and enjoyed friendships with the girls in the home as well as the different personalities of the House Parents. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the program pulled together to keep the scholars safe and together.
“I evacuated with the girls in my home. We didn’t have any idea how bad it would be. I remember putting stuff from my room on my bed and packing a bag. We had only planned to be gone a couple of days and went to Baton Rouge. Someone had generously donated a home so we were able to stay together.”
A few days turned into a couple of weeks and then into a couple of months. The Girls Hope home in New Orleans had eight feet of water. When the girls returned in January, they realized that the home was unlivable and had to be torn down.
“We stayed in an empty convent in downtown New Orleans, and it was a great time,” Demi remembers fondly.
In 2011 Demi graduated from St. Mary’s Dominican High School and then went on to receive her Bachelor’s in General Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
“I graduated in 2016 and went to talk with Chuck Roth, the Executive Director of Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans, about working for the program. He encouraged me to I apply to Boys Hope Girls Hope of Colorado. In addition to having a strong program, he felt I would like Colorado, especially the camping scene, which he remembered as one of my hobbies.”
Demi currently works as a Residential Counselor at Boys Hope Girls Hope of Colorado in Denver, and her experiences as a scholar make it easier for to connect with scholars on a personal level.
Looking to the future, Demi hopes to return to New Orleans one day and continue working for non-profits. Demi is also an incredible photographer and saved the money she earned to buy a Canon Rebel T6i.
“Boys Hope Girls Hope gave me more opportunities than I would have had. Honestly, when I entered the program, I had no idea what college was. The program made me grow in many ways- spiritually, educationally, and more. In NOLA the team there was so good at instilling the belief of being men and women for others, it was easy for me to come and work for the program and help scholars.”