Bre’Onna Brewer, an alumni of Edward H. White High School says Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) and the Community Partnership Schools™ model helped her discover her passion and her goals for the future.
“The Launch Pad at Ed White actually changed the direction I wanted to go into life,” said Bre’Onna. “Seeing the work CHS does throughout the state of Florida is huge. I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but now I want to work for a nonprofit organization serving students – I want to be the resource for others.”
Academically, Bre’Onna didn’t feel as motivated or disciplined as other students. “My dad raised my brother and I as a single parent – I had good grades, but I wasn’t motivated,” said Bre’Onna. “My school was very poor and it was hard to do anything when you had nothing to do, so you got into trouble!”
Edward H. White High School adopted the innovative Community Partnership Schools™ model in 2016 – known as the Launch Pad – bringing in resources and support to address and overcome barriers to learning from poverty to homelessness, inadequate access to medical care, mental health struggles and more. At the Launch Pad, Bre’Onna found the support and direction she was looking for.
“My first two years at Ed White were hard,” said Bre’Onna. “I didn’t have a mother figure in my life at that time. I was suspended a lot and I didn’t have the motivation to apply for college. But, when someone from the Launch Pad stepped in, they didn’t give up on me.”
Through the support of the Launch Pad, Bre’Onna conquered challenges and found opportunities to shine. She joined the Student Leadership Council (SLC) — a group dedicated to inspiring leadership in fellow students and community — where she served others and became President in her senior year. “I went to the Launch Pad a lot,” said Bre’Onna. “I used the counseling services and if I was extra stressed I would just go there and talk it out. I would return to class and do what I needed to do.”
Bre’Onna’s experience with the SLC and as a Senate Page with CHS – an opportunity for kids to travel to Tallahassee during the legislative session to gain understanding and experience in advocacy – opened her mind and inspired her to invest in her education and advocate for others.
The Senate Page opportunity with CHS was amazing – out of 10 of us, 2 of us were black students. It made me understand that I am underrepresented but CHS never let me feel like I was less than others – they always gave me the opportunity to represent myself.
Learning she was awarded the 2021 Virginia Morey Rell Scholarship was a moment of joy and excitement for Bre’Onna. “I was accepted to over 20 schools, but I couldn’t afford to go to college without help,” said Bre’Onna. “CHS gave me my first scholarship and now, receiving this again my senior year means so much to me. It is not easy to pay for everything I need, my dad can’t afford to help me and I don’t want to ask him for help.”
Bre’Onna hopes to create a world that is fair and equitable – where everyone has an opportunity to succeed in life. “I know so many people who didn’t make it to college or even high school graduation. I know many people who passed away,” said Bre’Onna. “They didn’t have the resources and support they needed and everyone should have a fair chance at this thing we call life.”
For more information about the Community Partnership Schools model at Edward H. White High School, contact Phillip Simmons, Community Partnership School Director.