Noelia’s family was struggling with money, and Noelia was struggling in the Philadelphia school system, when they decided to contact the children’s home for help. Despite moving far from her home, Noelia, then eight years old, was already familiar with one aspect of her new environment: her two older brothers lived there.

“Philadelphia wasn’t that great for schools and education. My experience in those schools wasn’t so great. I was getting picked on and came home a couple times having panic attacks,” Noelia said. “I’m just glad I came here.”

When Noelia first visited, she knew only her brothers, but she said that made her much more comfortable with the idea. After coming to live at the children’s home, she was happy to see her brothers often. They’ve since moved on to higher education and work.

Now, Noelia is an upcoming sophomore in high school and loves living at the children’s home and attending Elizabethtown Area High School. Noelia has become good friends with many of the other girls who live at the children’s home and she loves listening to music and joking around with them. She says she is the “corny joke girl” of the group.

When she first came to the children’s home, Noelia said the other girls definitely made her feel at home and taught her how the structure of the home worked. Since then, Noelia has helped guide and give advice to other children who are facing the situations she once did.

“We’re all in a group, and we’re just having a great time,” she said. “We usually know how to turn a situation upside-down.”

Noelia is excelling in school, attaining a plaque this year for the highest grade point average in her age group at the children’s home. She plays softball and volunteers with school activities like Mini-THON, a dance marathon that benefits Four Diamonds, which fights for a cure for pediatric cancer, and Pep Club. Noelia especially enjoys her photography and video production classes, as she hopes to one day work in those creative fields after graduating high school and college. Her dream is to visit a movie set to see how a movie is produced. One day, she hopes to see her own name in a movie’s credits as a videographer.

Noelia said she wants to accomplish a lot in her life, but one of her more immediate goals is to be more open with people and to be able to talk to people more easily. This summer, she is going to Cuba to visit her aunt, uncle and cousins whom she’s never met before. She is very excited about meeting more of her family.

Despite her relatives, and now her brothers, living at a distance, she is glad she came and considers the children’s home her home.
“This is my main home. It’s comfortable,” Noelia said. “I’m around an area I know. I don’t feel strange. I don’t feel in danger. I’m able to relax.”