Naiyla is an exceptionally dedicated high school senior that has been engaged with Branches since the fourth grade. Throughout the last eight years, Branches has poured into Naiyla and her family members that live in the Marshall Williamson neighborhood, a deeply rooted African-American enclave in South Miami. In addition to making use of the academic and socio-emotional supports afforded to her, she has immersed herself in the leadership opportunities provided to her by Branches. As a Summer Shade Guide, or camp counselor, Naiyla has modeled and lived out Branches’ values for the last four years while leading groups of elementary-aged Summer Shade campers. Last summer, Naiyla served as the Lead Guide at Branches South Miami because of her capacity to inspire children as well as her peers.
Because of her emerging confidence, Branches facilitated her participation this school year in the United Way of Miami-Dade Youth Council where Naiyla led a community discussion on homelessness and gentrification. Since Naiyla aspires to continue to positively impact her community, our staff has provided in-person college and scholarship application support to her at Branches South, a refuge in the face of COVID-related disruptions. We are proud of Naiyla’s most recent achievement as she has secured admission to Spelman College, an HCBU and global leader in the education of women of African descent. We look forward to continuing to provide mentoring support to Naiyla as she fulfills her full life potential.