| Daytona Beach News-Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
ABOUT THIS SERIES: Founded in 2007, Food Brings Hope provides after-school programs in 27 schools in Volusia County and two in Flagler County. The programs provide at-risk students opportunities to improve grades, have fun, and receive nourishing food. Throughout the holidays, The News-Journal is highlighting the program by publishing the stories of some of its young participants. For more information, visit foodbringshope.org.
Twins Ofelia and Erica Arias participate in Campbell Middle Schools’ TeenZone. They are diligent students who work hard to maintain good grades. The sisters, along with younger sister, Joselyn, recently answered a series of questions regarding school, career goals and their family’s holiday traditions.
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Ofelia and Erica are in eighth grade and joined the TeenZone program this school year. Ofelia’s favorite subject is science, and she plans to attend law school after college and become an attorney. Erica’s favorite subjects are science and history and her career plans are to be a photographer. Younger sister, Joselyn, who is in fifth grade, likes social studies and P.E. and wants to be an actress. Ofelia and Erica love being part of the TeenZone program.
“Food Brings Hope helped me keep up with my grades and has helped me with a lot of my homework, on their helpline, that I found difficult,” Ofelia said. “It is an amazing program!”
The three Arias girls have the unique distinction of participating in the Food Brings Hope Homework Helpline every night since its first session on Sept. 21. They Zoom in and receive assistance from the teachers online each night. Sponsor Ericka Burnam-Hoyt has seen a marked improvement in Erica’s and Ofelia’s grades in the first semester.
Mrs. Arias is happy that the Homework Helpline was created to assist students.
“I think the Homework Helpline is phenomenal in the aspect of their academic curriculum. It helps our girls focus academically, brings us more together, and involves me more in their studies. Of course the weekly food bags help, too.”
During the holidays, the family likes to be together and play games and cook good food. They have a holiday tradition of preparing homemade tamales.
Ofelia shared that she would like a great big dinosaur book and a drawing book for Christmas. Erica is hoping for a PS5, and Joselyn wants a Yui heart necklace. They would also like to give a special gift of new clothes or a new cup to their mom because she works so hard to take care of them.
If the family could give a gift to someone special, they chose FBH sponsors Ericka Burnam-Hoyt and coach Sabrina Burnam-Hoyt. They would give them a special vacation or a spa day so they can relax and recoup because they work so hard to help students at Campbell Middle School and in TeenZone.
Erica summed up how the family feels about Food Brings Hope, “I love the whole organization and they help other students and we all bond when we are doing our work. It brings us together and it is fun with them! I have the chance to make new friends with new people and we help out each other.”