"I am happier.I actually smile a lot more," says Stephanie Fernandez.
"I've been more respectful. I've been mannered. I have a lot more friends than I used to," says Ronald Millett.
These students are all a part of the PUSH Program at Abilene High. The name says it all. It was created in the hopes of "pushing" young individuals to be the best person they can be.
Maureen Medina, the person behind PUSH says, "I created this program based on that idea: to give them opportunities from the lessons I've learned from graduating here and the lessons I've learned from being in here."
Medina is active duty military and former member of the school's JROTC program. After noticing the funding just wasn't there and the kids in the program didn't have the same opportunities that she once had, she wanted to help.
"She came to ROTC telling us about PUSH. That she's gonna start this program to get to know us and us to get to know her. So we won't be strangers to her and she'll actually get closer to us like family," says Elizabeth Martinez, a student and member of PUSH.
The program teaches everything from networking skills to lessons in public speaking and incorporates group leadership team building activities.
Adriana Gonzalez, another student member adds, "It helps you a lot with getting to know people. It helps you with leadership, but more important, it helps you know what you're going to do before you go."
Gonzalez says before she came to the program, she wasn't exactly on the right track.
"I used to be the type of person that hung around with a lot of bad kids, I mean, a lot," she says.
But she says PUSH helped her change. Adriana now has a leadership position as head of a group fundraising effort. Like other students in the program, she's engaged and interested in what's going on.
"She's involving us," she says of Medina. "She's not standing up there saying look, this is how it's gonna happen, this is me. No, she's getting us involved."
The program was initially created for students in JROTC but is now open to any Abilene High student interested in joining.