Tori T. was admitted to Project Bridge in September 2016 due to her criminal involvement that started when she was 13 years old with petit theft charges. She was then arrested on seven different occasions after her first initial arrest. Tori has two brothers who have also had previous involvement in DJJ programs and her mother is in prison for human trafficking and selling and delivering of drugs.

Tori grew up in Orlando and was shuffled from home to home due to abuse. She went to live with her grandparents until she was nine years old, but the Department of Children and Families became involved due to allegations of molestation by her grandfather, therefore Tori was returned to her father. Due to Tori’s stressful home situation, she started to run away, and at the age of nine entered foster care. She was later reunified with her father for two years, but at the age of twelve resided with her mother and grandfather. Two years later, on her fourteenth birthday she was forced to move again and returned to her father’s home due to her mother’s substance abuse.

Unfortunately, Tori has a history of making poor choices and not having a family setting that provided her with opportunities, but on December 15, 2016, she graduated with her GED from Project Bridge, and was the first GED graduate in Circuit 18. This was a major achievement for Tori as she had never attended a regular high school before.

Tori’s future plans include signing up for the culinary arts program at Eastern Florida State College in Titusville. In addition, she he has since completed 35 volunteer hours through the paid work experience program by volunteering at Gail house and participating in Eckerd Kids community service events.

Tori says she wants to share her story because of everything Project Bridge has done for her, which now makes her want to give back to others. Tori stated, “The thing I’m most proud of is getting my GED. I got into Project Bridge on September 27, got my GED on November 30 and graduated on December 15. This is important to me because I hadn’t been to school since the 7th grade and I didn’t realize how much I knew or how much I was able to learn. If it wasn’t for Project Bridge, I would probably be on the same path I was before so I’ll be forever grateful for all that Project Bridge has done for me.”